ECF Game 7 – Heat to NBA Finals for 2nd Straight Season

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Full disclosure: I can tell you more about the third period of the Kings / Devils game than I can about the second half of the Heat / Celtics game. I had a BAD feeling that Boston was out of gas about 5 minutes into the third, and turned away to the Stanley Cup – and by the way, Swift made one phenomenal save on a catch while standing about 10 feet out in front of the net, but the Devils won by being the more physical team. From what I could piece together it looked like the Celtics really did run out of gas. The shots were coming up short, and the pick and roll show and recover was getting slow.

Bosh was gigantic. He’s slick. He’s big. He hits shots and gets his hands on passes for deflections minimizing the advantage Boston has by lobbing the ball to KG. Miami unleashed a pick and roll between Wade and Bron that lead to a Bosh flip shot in the paint. No way Haslem or Anthony hits that. Things like that make a big difference because they change the way a team can defend James and Wade. LeBron started a little slowly but got aggressive and took himself to the free throw line 17 times, which is what Miami needs from him. Wade has his typical back breaking drives here and there.

I don’t feel so bad about this loss for the Cs. We got way further in this series than most people expected. Truth be told, if Bosh had been healthy throughout the series, we probably would have lost earlier despite all the great effort and execution the whole team gave. Some people might even say we had no business getting past round 2, because Chicago with Rose and Noah were the top team in the East, and if they’d been healthy, we would have played them instead of Phili.

I liked the relatively contained celebration after the win. Alonzo presented the Eastern Conference Champion trophy to Norris Cole rather than one of the team’s stars. That’s the first classy thing that this team has done since Miami Trice got their white blazers and salmon button broke out for South Beach clubbin’ after The Decision.

The Heat vs. the Thunder was the preseason pick for these Finals, and now we have it. It’ll be interesting to see how these two teams match up. Will the Thunder put Thabo on James or Wade? If he covers James, Durant will have to cross-match and cover Chalmers while Westbrook matches up against Wade. If he covers Wade, Durant and James will be matched up head-to-head, and Westbrook will cover Chalmers. When both teams go small, will Durant and James guard each other at the PF position? Can anyone in a Miami uniform stay in front of Westbrook? San Antonio had some small success taking Westbrook out of his rhythm when Tony Parker pressured him. I’m not Chalmers or Cole has the foot speed to do that. I know they don’t have Tim Duncan behind them to clog the lane.

One last shout out to the Boston Celtics. Great run with all the injuries. They lost Jeff Green, Jermaine O’Neal, and Chris Wilcox long before the playoffs even started. Then Avery Bradley, the revelation of the season with his individual defense, was lost for good in the second round. All things considered the Celtics were 8 minutes away from the NBA finals playing without three of their potential top 9 players. This was another series where it was about making shots. Boston got tired and missed open shots, and Bosh, Battier, and LeBron hit some long jumpers. Great run by the Cs, tremendous playoffs for Rajon Rondo, and kudos to the Heat for doing what they had to in order to advance.

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2 Responses to “ECF Game 7 – Heat to NBA Finals for 2nd Straight Season”

  1. pmadavi Says:

    You missed a hell of a second half. Boston was in it until about five minutes left. Then Wade and Bron and Bosh not only went off offensively, but made three key defensive stops in a row. That triggered the late game run that sealed it for the Heat.

    Boston just couldn’t shoot themselves back in it. After the game, Rivers said they just ran out of gas. Long, tough series.

    Here’s to another one starting on Tuesday!

    • jpalumbo Says:

      I caught the 4th quarter. I saw what Doc was saying. Short shots. Late rotations. No legs left.

      Jason Palumbo

      Sent from my iPhone

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