Many years ago in 2001, a man named Shaquille O’Neal was playing the Boston Celtics as a member of his soon to be Champion LA Lakers. After finishing off what was a 112-107 victory over the Celtics, Shaq pulled a Boston reporter over to him during the post games interviews and said, ”My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the fucking truth. Quote me on that and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth.” Hence the nickname “The Truth” was born and has stuck through the 10-time NBA all-stars career. Last night was just another indication of why Shaq believed his statement to be true. In a 1 point game with just under a minute to play and the shot clock winding down, Pierce pulled up for a 3-pointer over James and drained it.
When James saw that ball caress the nylon as it went through the hoop, the look on his face was priceless. It was as if he had never seen a clutch fourth quarter shot go through the net before. Last night’s 94-90 Boston victory over the Heat was a backbreaking one for the Miami faithful. How can a team that just over a year ago promised all of its fans not 1, not 2, not 3, not 7…championships but more, be one game away from being eliminated from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Finals? How can a player who had 30 points and 13 rebounds look like he was a role player throughout the fourth quarter of a game 5 where the series is tied 2-2? How could a team that was down 2-0 in a series and had all the critics writing them off for their age and their opponents talents, be on the verge of their 3rd Finals appearance in 4 years? The answer to all of these questions is simple. The Boston Celtics veterans are clutch and Lebron James is not.
This series is heading back to Boston on Thursday night and it should be a great one. Check out the highlights of last night’s game and see what the difference between a great player and a great player that is clutch is.
It might as well have been called the James-Wade showcase, Miami managed to flip expectations back to where they were a month ago when many felt the Heat would waltz through the playoffs.
In what started to look early on like another beating by the Pacers on the hapless Heat, Dwyane Wade was sleepwalking through the first quarter while Lebron appeared to be the only working cog in the Miami wheelhouse. Then something clicked and suddenly in the second quarter things started to look more interesting – still looking like a Pacers win, but at least somewhat more competitive.
So who had their money on the complete reversal that occurred in the 3rd and 4th? 70 points from James and Wade was not the only highlight of the Miami renewed offense, but in a 101-93 victory over the Pacers it certainly is what should be talked about!
I’m not sure that Miami can count on this kind of performance for two more victories, but at the very least they can count on silencing the talk about the collapse of both Lebron and Dwyane in the playoffs. No matter what they do (okay, not “no matter what”, but some slack here) in game 5, these two hot Heats have at least proven that they can show up and play like they actually deserve those fat paychecks. Great show last night!