A large lead at the beginning of a basketball game often is no indication that the contest is over. Usually--unless the teams are mismatched from the start--large leads evaporate sometime well before the final moments of a game.
Last night was atypical. The Miami Heat went out to a huge lead and it was not until the final seconds when the Thunder put themselves in a position to contest the outcome. Those who stayed up late to watch the end know that the Heat withstood the heat and prevailed.
LeBron James detractors and people like myself who wondered about his backbone need to reconsider their positions in light of what James has done in the last few games. Last night, James made spectacular shots throughout and when the Thunder, with its fans screaming maniacally, put the pressure on, LeBron hit a beautiful (and contested) bank shot and then proceeded to hit two foul shots that barely grazed the net they were so perfectly aimed.
I've mentioned before that when I used to play tennis competitively I thought that if I could get my opponent to crunch time, then the victor would not be the person with the better game, but the player with the stronger spine. This was not a 7th game, but had the Heat lost, it would have been very difficult for them to prevail in this series even with three home games looming. If the Heat had lost they would have had to live with a second consecutive game when they lost a lead, this time having lost the lead in the last minute by falling apart. So when James hit the bank shot and then the fouls, it was time for me to think this fellow might have not only talent, but it.
Some other comments:
(1) My dad wrote to me this morning and remarked that Kevin Durant shoots threes like he (my father) used to shoot layups. Very true. Durant flicks them up as if they are effortless.
(2) It surprises me how many times we see a Heat player berating teammate Mario Chalmers. I wonder if there is a pecking system on the Heat where the aristocracy of the big three--or at least Bosh and James--feel privileged to openly criticize the proletariat. This is not a good thing.
(3) If Battier stops hitting threes and Miller does not pick up that slack, I do not see the Heat winning more than one more game in this series.
(4) Basketball players are the best athletes in the world. It is just jaw dropping stuff to see Russell Westbrook drive to the basket and make an acrobat like Dwyane Wade look second tier.
(5) When I listen to the coaches' comments during timeouts, I can't find much in terms of valuable wisdom contained in their talks. It sounds as if they all have attended a cliche workshop as part of their training.