The Sons' NBA Finals Review – Game 5: Flame On

Wes:  The Miami Heat are the 2012 NBA Champions*.  As you can see, that title does come with an asterisk:

*The Heat won it all due to the fact that no other team was able to beat them

There it is.  The Heat were the first team to win 16 playoff games.  All of the hypotheticals and what ifs just don’t matter to me.  Injuries happen every year.  Loaded teams fall short.  It’s not the result of a vote or a coin flip – the winner is the winner because they go out and win it.

Game 5 was the definition of a team “slamming the casket shut.”  Miami came out, opened it up, and it was really never even close after that.  Every member of the Heat played at their highest level(s) and did it as a group.  A team on a mission.

It was not as if the Thunder came out to just go through the motions.  They wanted it, or at least wanted to want it.  It was one of those things where, deep down, they probably knew it was going to be close to impossible to win it, but they would never admit that.  Unfortunately for OKC, for all of their talent, they lacked the composure and consistency that is the difference between “really good” and “the best.”  I think it’s just a matter of time before they acquire those things, but they’re not there yet.  They didn’t know what to do and, ultimately, got overwhelmed.

Now, for the rapid fire summary of things you’ve already heard about a million times:

  • Lebron James played his role as the best player in the game
  • A still-injured Chris Bosh outplayed and out-gritted every post player OKC had to offer
  • Dwayne Wade settled into his secondary slot and worked it with brilliantly
  • The Heat role-players were great once again, highlighted by the Mike Miller Experience
  • Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were game, but ineffective
  • James Harden sucked
  • Thabo Sefolosha sucked
  • Kendrick Perkins was the worst of them all

You know the deal.  The game actually remained much closer than it should have been, complete with a less-impactful version of OKC’s now signature, 3rd quarter megablast.  Then, Miami unloaded a barrage that left the entire viewing audience exhausted and left the Thunder bewildered.  That’s when it was completely clear.

In the end, it came down to Miami finding something that worked, and OKC not being able to figure out how to counter that.  Whether that’s on Scott Brooks and his strategy, the players and their unfamiliarity with the situation(s), or the referees (come on), they couldn’t get up enough times.  For the Thunder, it’s a matter of using this and learning from it…

… and for the Miami Heat, it’s time to go downtown and make some more rounds.

John: I’ll kept it real, I watched about 45 seconds of the game. I was, in the words of the late Patrice O’ Neal, resigned to the fuckin’.

Knowing what I know about these things, I had this pegged as something of a blowout win/coronation for the heat, and I didn’t exactly have the desire stick around to watch it go down. This series has reminded me alot of the Lakers/Celtics final in 2008, in which an upstart Laker team was similarly put in it’s place by a grizzled, tougher, more determined team. The series went six games, but the Lakers might remember it differently considering they failed to show up for the finale. If memory serves me, they lost that game by 114 points, although I could be a bit off on that number.

Anyway, I expected this game to be in that neighborhood. The mental toll of being down 3-1 is simply too much to bear for a young team that is in over it’s heads to begin with, I figured. Turned out I was right. I’ll have plenty more to say about the Heat and Lebron in particular in the next day or two, but for now I just wanna get in my Gang Starr reference and be out, and as luck would have it, I got a pretty good one handy:

When it came to the 2012 NBA Finals, let it remembered that this year, suckers were going nowhere.

 

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