It pains me as much as the next person to say this, but LeBron James has stuck it to his haters. The guy that goes by King James now has his ring and he did it in style, completely dismantling all opponents that stood in his way as if he was on a mission to prove the doubters the wrong.
For all the evil that the Miami Heat represents, they are now the NBA Champions and none other than LeBron James was at the forefront. Sure there was Mario Chalmers‘ 25 point performance in Game 4 of the Finals and Mike Miller’s insane three-point barrage en route to 23 points in Game 5, but LeBron was so dominant that it made people oblivious to Dwyane Wade’s struggles for most of the postseason. Where was the hate on D-Wade?
Count me as one of the seemingly millions of people that despised LeBron for the way he left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers through The Decision. He went from one of the most beloved players to the most over scrutinized and polarizing athlete this side of Tim Tebow. Even I thought LeBron was under the microscope way too much.
Through all of my hate though, there was no lost respect for the player on the court. No, even as a Chicago Bulls fan, I was not blind to the truth that there is no more dominant player in the game than LeBron James (my apologies to Derrick Rose). He may never be MJ, but has the game ever seen anyone that possessed a more dominant package of power and strength yet played the game with more speed and grace than one would expect from a 250-pound freak of nature? Combine that with an incredibly high basketball IQ and you’ve got a three-time MVP with many more to come. The only thing that was missing was the bling on his ring finger and supposedly the “clutch gene.” (more…)
BY JON FRANK, Couchsideshow.com contributor
How? Was the first thing that came to my head. Miami’s got the three-time MVP (LeBron James), the NBA’s Batman and his Robin (Dwyane Wade), not to mention a semi-healthy Chris Bosh. Boston’s got what’s left of the Big Three and Rajon Rondo. This shouldn’t happen. It defies all notions of NBA logic. In professional basketball, superstars are supposed to strap in, go off for 30 a night and carry their inferior, but well-meaning teammates, along for the ride. But watching the Celtics win three straight against the Heat – and listening to Michael Wilbon and the boys’ postgame analysis – it made me remember how much of a team sport basketball is.
Boston is a great team. We knew they were great in years past, and most everyone expected them to do some damage. But few people expected this. Obviously, a lot has happened since people made their initial East Conference champions predictions. Namely, Derrick Rose’s ACL derailed the Bulls (honorable mention to Joakim Noah, the second best player on that team, who went down with a sprained ankle). Aside from that, how many people actually thought an aging Boston team would be on the verge of sending the ridiculously talented Super Team packing? Not me. Then again, I’m no NBA expert – not by a long shot. (more…)
BY ANDREW WITTRY, Feedcrossing.com syndication
After Chris Bosh’s abdominal strain that sidelined him in Game 1 of the Eastern Semifinals, and falling behind 2-1 in the series, the Heat were thrown into a must-win scenario in Game 4. It was the first time all season that Erik Spoelstra’s squad had been in danger of being eliminated by a non-elite team (any team outside of the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs). Their one-game deficit also marked the widespread realization of how important Chris Bosh is to the Heat. Bosh often gets discounted when it comes to the Big Three. Dwayne Wade is the long-time hero of Miami who brought a championship to South Beach. LeBron James is the four-time MVP who puts the Heat on his back night in and night out. And what is Chris Bosh? In reality he is an All-Star level talent who has 20 ppg and 10 rpg potential; however, the former Georgia Tech forward is the third scoring option in Miami and does not get the credit he deserves for the role he plays alongside D-Wade and LeBron. (more…)
The NBA Playoffs are quickly approaching with just a week and a half remaining in the regular season. To think it wasn’t too long ago that NBA enthusiasts like myself were in doubt that there would even be a season.
Now everyone knows that the East is a two-team race (maybe three if you consider the resurgent Celtics a legit contender) with the Bulls and the Heat. If you’re a regular Couch Side reader or one of the few Twitter followers I have, you know which side I’m on.
As for the West, well everyone since the beginning of the season has assumed that Oklahoma City was destined to meet either Chi-Town or South Beach in the NBA Finals. Everyone assumed that the old guards, namely the Spurs and the aforementioned Celtics, didn’t stand a chance in the compressed, lockout-induced season.
But here they are, Greg Popovich’s boys in the silver and black just as they always are. With a week and a half remaining, the Spurs are just a game behind OKC for the top-seed in the West. The old guys are here and they’ve got the young, athletic Thunder in sight. (more…)
The Big Three versus the MVP. That was the showdown in South Beach on Sunday. The Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls, the clear top-two teams in the East and quite possibly the entire league, squared off for the first time since their Eastern Conference Finals encounter in May. Unfortunately for the Bulls though, they came up short in the end just as they did a mere eight months ago.
Derrick Rose, the youngest player ever to win the NBA’s MVP, has openly shouldered the blame for the Bulls’ failure in the ECF. The five-game series loss ate at him alive and motivated him throughout the extended lockout-induced offseason. Even as he downplayed Sunday’s matchup against the Heatles, it was very apparent that he wanted this game bad.
In fact, up until the final 22.7 seconds of the game, D-Rose appeared to be on a mission to will his team to victory, to make amends for his “shortcomings” back in May. Rose could not be kept out of the paint, crossing his defender up and repeatedly twisting, spinning and weaving his way to the basket for layups. Then just as he had all game, he got to the free-throw line with a chance to give the Bulls their first lead of the game with 22.7 seconds left to play in the game. Yet despite a perfect 29-29 mark this season in the fourth quarter, Rose missed not only his first free throw, but his second as well, and the Bulls dropped a heartbreaker 97-93.