Lebron Quiets Critics as the Heat Beat the Celtics…and Manny Pacquiao!
“Thank you for helping me keep my job,” is probably exactly what Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was thinking as the final seconds of Miami’s game 7 101-88 victory over the Boston Celtics wound down. Before the game started, a stoic Lebron James was asked how he felt about the game 7 matchup, since he had lost in his previous 2 game 7’s, and James responded with “I won’t regret it!” That type of confidence would intimidate anyone, but coming from arguably the best basketball player on the planet would make even Chuck Norris shit his pants. After the disappointing game 5 loss to Boston that put Miami down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, critics were trashing Lebron’s “lack of a clutch factor,” while Miami fans were begging for Spoelstra’s head/resignation form.
Game 6 was a breeze and entering game 7, Miami was considered a big favorite on their home court. As the game started it was lead change after lead change with both teams countering their opponents attacks. When the third quarter approached, Boston came out of the gates fast and built an 11 point lead. At that point you could see the fear in Spoelstra’s eyes as he was about to lead the favored Miami Heat to yet another disheartening early exit from the playoffs. Luckily for Spoelstra, James didn’t show that same fear. Lebron had a sense of motivation and determination that I have personally never seen him have. There was absolutely no way that Lebron was not going to face off with OKC in the NBA Finals. Even though James was the clear reason that Miami won this game and the series, he gave credit to a player that made a huge difference in games 6 and 7. “He was big time — every shot, every defensive play, every rebound — we missed him,” James said of Chris Bosh. “We’re just happy to have him back at the right time. If it wasn’t for him and the rest of the guys that stepped up, we don’t win this game.” Classy statement from Lebron, but the truth of the matter is that without James, Miami would have been swept by the Knicks in the first round.
I have to give Boston a lot of credit, because during the regular season they were under .500 going into the all-star break. For them to completely turn their season around and make it all the way to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals is an impressive feat in itself, but to do it with a team filled with players that will be using walkers and wearing Depends in a few years is all the more extraordinary. This was most likely the last game that Boston’s “Big 4,” (Rondo, Garnett, Pierce, and Allen) will ever play together. I’m a die-hard Knicks fan so I am not to unhappy with that news, but as a sports fan it is always sad to see a dynasty die.
The Celtics didn’t only lose this game for themselves, but they seem to have helped Timothy Bradley beat a disgruntled Boston fan in Manny Pacquiao. The two welterweights had an epic matchup of their own last night that Bradley ended up winning in a split decision. What’s incredible about this battle is that Pacquiao has been a life long Celtics fan and refused to let the match start until the Boston Miami game was over. By caring more about the basketball matchup then his own fight, Manny seemed to have had his priorities askew. “I did my best,” Pacquiao said. “I guess my best wasn’t good enough.” Don’t worry Manny, neither was Boston’s.