The performance of the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals is exactly why I hate this team.
LeBron James was fantastic, as usual. Dwyane Wade looked like the 2006 series MVP and often-criticized Chris Bosh played one of his best games of the season.
The Big Three combined for 85 points, 30 rebounds, 9 assists, 11 steals and 5 blocked shots. The points are great, but rebounds, steals and blocked shots are the product of desire.
Where is that desire every night?
James, Wade and Bosh each make over $100,000 a game. Couldn’t they at least try?
In the post game show, ESPN’s Magic Johnson said “We asked the King to step up his game tonight, and he did just that.”
We had to ask him? Wasn’t that sort of implied?
When confronted about his contentious relationship with the Hollywood press, actor Humphrey Bogart replied “The only thing you owe the public is a good performance.”
I wish these Heat stars would take the same approach and realize they owe us that much. They have responded with a win after their last 12 losses. They’ve also responded with a loss after their last six wins.
I understand it’s a long season and you can’t be at your best every night, but these are the playoffs for god’s sake.
Some credit goes to their opponents who are not just rolling over to let them be at their best. Sure, Bogart could deliver all the time. It’s not like Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre were trying to swat away his lines.
Maybe we’re supposed to lavish praise on the Heat for responding so well after a loss. I don’t see it that way.
In the second round the Heat faced a Bulls team that had so many injuries that they were playing a six man rotation. Even those six weren’t healthy.
During the series, Coach of the Year voters wanted to recast their ballots and put the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau on top. The Bulls gave it everything they had every night. The Heat did not, even though they won the series in five games.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat were fortunate to win Game 1 in overtime against the Indiana Pacers. After that victory, the Heat began their win one/lose one pattern.
The Pacers wins were close games. Gut wrenching tests of will that the Heat failed in every time. The last three Heat wins were all double digit victories. They won Game 7 by a 99-76 count after a dominating second quarter that never let the Pacers entertain the thoughts of getting back into the game.
Coming into the Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, the Heat entered as substantial favorites. The win over the Pacers showed just how good they could be.
When they wanted to.
That’s the rub. They are a truly great team on those special nights where they play up to their tremendous potential.
The Spurs are playing their best every night. Tony Parker is hurt, Manu Ginobili is old. They put that aside and each played great in Game 5. Ginobili had been so bad, he hinted at retiring after the season. He responded with his best performance of the playoffs, with 24 points and 10 assists. No rational person would ever question his desire.
At least this Heat loss wasn’t the embarrassment of the 113-77 game three debacle. They could have lost Game 5 by much more. A couple fourth quarter runs kept it close and even put a scare into the Spurs until a Danny Green three pointer put it out of reach.
With Game 6 on the docket for Tuesday night and a possible Game 7 this Thursday in Miami, the Heat are still favored in the series despite being down 3-2. If they win, the history books will show them as repeat champions.
Something to be celebrated.
Those of us who are witnessing how they would have done so will be far less than impressed.
Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. Check out his new website at www.againstthenumber.com. You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Contact Chris at [email protected].