Then came "The Decision." The criticism, the hate, and the jokes started to pour in on the self proclaimed king never being capable of getting a ring. But he was now with a friend, Dwayne Wade, and the Miami Heat were determined to accomplish one goal....win an NBA championship.
Last season, LeBron came up short in the finals against Dirk and the Mavericks, he wasn't going to let it happen this season against Kevin Durant and the Thunder. From the tip in game one of the series, the King showed the world that he wasn't going to let another opportunity get passed him. This was his third chance in the NBA Finals and the third time was definitely a charm, knocking off the Thunder 121-106.
These days you don't see many NBA Finals finish in just five games. Usually the refs try to get the series to at least game six or seven, but the Heat's Big 3 wasn't going to allow themselves to be in that kind of situation. And it wasn't just LeBron, Wade, & Bosh. The role players really stepped up their game and hit big shot after big shot in helping the Heat run away with the game in the 3rd quarter. Lets look at the individual stats:
LeBron James - 26pts / 11rebs / 13asts
Dwayne Wade - 20pts / 8rebs / 3asts
Chris Bosh - 24pts / 7rebs
Shane Battier - 11pts / 4rebs
Mario Chalmers - 10pts / 7asts
Mike Miller - 23pts / 5rebs / 7-8 from 3pt range
Talk about a total team effort. Everyone contributed in a number a ways...whether it was knocking down open treys or taking a charge. The man in charge...King LeBron James. Not only did he score and dominate the boards, but he also found the open man time and time again racking up 13 assists in his triple double performance. When a guy with LeBron's ability penetrates the lane, chances are something good will come of it. I stated numerous times in the postseason that all the Heat have to do to win is let the King drive to the basket. If he gets doubled, he has the vision and capability to make a quick pass to the open man, which tonight was usually the white boy...Mike Miller.
Miller set an NBA Finals record for a player coming off the bench with seven made three pointers. That is seven more than he made in the rest of the series combined. Back problems had limited the dead-eye shooter throughout the playoffs, having only 21 minutes of playing time in the first four games. He wasn't going to let that be an excuse this time, playing 23 minutes. LeBron and Chalmers found him in open spots on the floor all game combining for 20 assists. I don't know what the Thunder were doing defensively on him. Durant was the main defender on Miller, and I guess the thinking behind that was the length of KD could cause Miller to hesitate or get his shot blocked. Plus with Miller being the most nonathletic guy on the floor, the Thunder wouldn't have to worry about Kevin's defense being a problem. They thought wrong and it was definitely Miller time all night long.
Besides Miller, there were two other Heat players with 10+ seasons that finally got their rings, Shane Battier and Juwan Howard. Battier was a consistent lethal threat throughout the entire series breaking loose for 11.8 points per game shooting 63.2% from downtown after just averaging 4.8 points while shooting 33.9% during the regular season. Howard, member of the Fab Five, entered game five for the final three minutes but he is more of a veteran leader for the team. If I am Howard, its time to retire on a high note...as an NBA Champion.
Thunder SF Kevin Durant needs to keep his head held high, though. He is still very young and has a lot of promising basketball ahead of him. But to become a champion, he needs to add another dimension to his game instead of just scoring ability. He needs to step up on the defensive side of the ball and be capable of playing a more physical type game. With his height, he needs to be able to post up defenders, but with his slim frame he gets pushed around too much. He also needs to get his teammates involved more, two assists a game is simply not enough. But that topic is more for his counterpart...Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook has physical capabilities of becoming the best point guard in the NBA, but in order to do that he needs to actually play like a point guard and not another Kobe-like shooting guard taking 30 shots a game. He also needs to play with a higher intelligence of the game, a quality that all point guards should have. Westbrook just takes too many forced shots and does not find the open man enough. He is too worried about his own scoring statistics.
In conclusion, I'm calling a repeat next season. Same teams, same result, but in six games instead of five. Look for Ray Allen to arrive in South Beach over the offseason and possibly even Steve Nash. Ray will give the Heat even another deep threat to keep the same style of play going. If Durant expands his game, he WILL be named MVP. If he lets Westbrook be Westbrook, LeBron grabs another. These two small forwards are hands down the top two players in the league and have plenty of basketball years ahead of them. The King finally got his ring...will 2013 make it two straight?