Who knows, maybe Dwyane Wade’s foul on Rajon Rondo in Game 3 (more like assault some might say) might’ve been the biggest service the Heat got in Game 4. Rondo was just not himself. He finished with 10 points and 5 assists but wasn’t there during crunch time. Chris Bosh scored five points in overtime, including the tip in off of LeBron’s miss that gave the Heat a 5 point lead which they never let go. LeBron James opened overtime with a HUGE fade away shot over Paul Pierce.
The Heat’s big three combined for 83 points on Monday. The Miami Heat scored 98. We’re the guys. We’re the ones who get all the attention. We’re the ones that get all the praise. This team is going to go as far as us three takes it.” Dwyane Wade had that to say after the game, putting Miami one win away from eliminating the Boston Celtics. No one will be happier about that than LeBron James, I promise you.
It’s too early too talk about Conference Finals chances and opponents. The Bulls-Hawks series looks far from over, becoming more and more sluggish, the two looking more and more like fierce rivals. Lets take it one step at a time – the Heat and James have one more step to climb before they finally get rid of the Boston Celtics. Far from their best, injured, hurt both physically and mentally, the C’s are hard to get rid of.
It took LeBron James a loss against the Detroit Pistons in 2006 before he pretty much single handily beat them in 2007. Detroit were the best in the East during the mid 00’s and also the ‘baddest’ team in the league. Same as Boston. Its something they take pride in. The Miami Heat, thanks to LeBron’s move from Cleveland didn’t only become an immediate title contender. They also became villains, with LeBron James playing the role of Magneto and Lex Luthor combined. It seems that in this series against the Celtics they’ve channeled their combined past disappointments against the Celtics (Wade with Miami, LeBron with the Cavs) to let out their aggression and toughness.
LeBron James scored 35 points for the second time in this series on Monday. His defense on Paul Pierce and in helping others has been great. He’s not alone like he used to be in Cleveland – He has Dwyane Wade, probably the league’s best shooting guard and one of the top 5 in the NBA in general scoring 28 points. He had Chris Bosh with 20 points and 12 rebounds outplaying Kevin Garnett who has opened his mouth about Bosh’s softness in the past. He’s far from alone in this one. But it seems that with every play, every possession, all eyes are on him, as he’s used to, to lead the Heat over the Celtics. There’s one more to go.
He rebounded perfectly from the tough Game 3 loss. Last year, after a demoralizing home loss, LeBron James and the Cavs bowed down quietly in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semi Final. It looked over from the get go. It was the complete opposite this time around.
The Celtics are talking about themselves. How they messed up. How THEY aren’t executing well down the stretch, like Pierce’s final shot in regulation on a botched play with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett messing up their assignments. They whined about the refereeing earlier in the series, but no more. They don’t have the privilege to do that. Maybe Rivers thought his veteran will handle the Heat better. I guess he thought the final regular season between the two teams didn’t really mean that Miami are entering the playoffs as the better team. So he thought.
There are plenty of storylines that will be interesting to watch unfold if the Celtics lose the next game – Maybe the final game of this group together, Doc Rivers thoughts on leaving coaching for a while and Shaquille O’Neal, sad to watch actually, leaving the game for good. Still, the main focus is on the Heat and LeBron James. This team was built for winning titles, that’s the main goal. That hasn’t changed. But watching LeBron James play this well as he’s finally slaying the one dragon that’s pained him so much is entertainment at its best. He’s been waiting for this moment all year. Regardless of what happen after (and if) they beat the Celtics, it’ll be a special moment for a lot of people, but mostly him.