So now it's come down to this. I'm left asking myself - was this the only possible outcome? We are now about 94% of the way through the most compelling, the most exciting, and the most immersing NBA postseason in memory, and it feels like it was totally unnecessary.
To me, these two teams are the reincarnation of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics of the 1980's. Notwithstanding the different positions they play, Duncan/Parker/Ginobili are the Parrish/Bird/McHale of this era. Likewise, LeBron/DWade/Bosh are the Magic/Kareem/Worthy for today. It's Showtime versus Tradition, and if you're like me, then you want Miami to take it not in four, not in five.....
Fast forward two and a half weeks from now to a very likely scenario: The Spurs and the Heat are facing off in a Game Seven in San Antonio, with everything on the line. I will not be surprised at the victor, as both teams are more than up to the challenge. Both teams are worthy of the NBA title. Isn't it a little profound that a team with four titles to their credit stand in the way of another team trying to join the four-time champion club? It's very exclusive company, numbering four. The aforementioned Celtics and Lakers, the Spurs, and Michael Jordan's six-time champion Chicago Bulls. And isn't it funny how the Jordan/James arguments have started to Heat up again? Is it any wonder?
What will it take for James to be accepted as the best ever? We'd all like it to be a consensus that James is the best player ever, but there will always be detractors, whether LeBron never wins another title or he retires with 11, like Bill Russell. Is James better now than Jordan was in his prime? It's really a question that we should not bother answering. It's comparing grapes to cherries. Pundits say that James wouldn't have excelled in the NBA thirty years ago. But great is great, whenever a player happens to be born. LeBron would have excelled in the 80's, just as Jordan in his prime would have excelled today. Can we please table this discussion for another 10 years? And can we agree that the number of rings on a players hands does not define his greatness? After all, is Trent Dilfer (one Super Bowl title) really better than Dan Marino (zero Super Bowl titles)?
A prediction: This series will end in seven games. Miami and San Antonio are perfectly matched to finish up this historic postseason with a historic Finals. To stay on theme - historically - it doesn't even matter who wins this one. As a fan, though, I'll be living and dying with every three-pointer, layup, steal and slam dunk.
Keep your browser bookmarked right here for all your Heat news, including all the buildup to these finals. Also, check out Pounding the Rock for second-to-none coverage of the Spurs.