Wednesday, June 5, 2013

COURTSIDE VIEW: "Revenge is the Sweetest Joy"

Johnny J

2Pac once said, "Revenge is the sweetest Joy" (90% of our readers should know the rest of that line--Ed). To LeBron James, the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers were suppose to win it all. Instead, those dreams were swept in a dust pan and thrown away by the San Antonio Spurs. Six years later, with a stacked resume, LeBron looks to have the last laugh. Since that defeat, LeBron has won an NBA championship, won Finals MVP, has reached the Finals, three consecutive years, won an NBA scoring title and has two gold medals in the Olympics. Oh, did I mention that he is considered the best player on the planet right now?

This year's best scorer in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony, still hasn't learned that it takes more than one player to win a championship. Now at 28, a mature and focused James is up to the challenge of facing the same team who crushed his chance of winning his first ring.

James also has two other All-Stars on his team in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Yes, Bosh is soft, but he still was an All-Star. LeBron needed help from other superstars to eventually win a ring last year against the Oklahoma City Thunder.  An Avengers team was created and the Miami Heat have been too hot to extinguish. When the Heat lose, everyone panics--everyone but the Heat. They continue to play their game. My first thought on Game 7 between the Heat and the underdog Indiana Pacers was that LeBron is going to take over. I mean he has to because his team is not showing up. Instead in the first quarter, he passed on a few shots. He had 6 points at the end of the first quarter (on pace for 24 points--that's not too shabby!--Ed) and they were only down by two. He let the game come to him. At halftime he had 18 points (36 points' pace?--Ed) and he finished with 32 points. He scored when he needed to. There was even a Dwyane Wade sighting as he scored 21 points to help LeBron and company advance to the Finals.

But if their is a team, who I believe can put the flames out, it is the Spurs. Over the first three rounds, they showed me that old men can play (besides Uncle Drew that is).  They swept the Los Angeles Lakers, beat the young and talented backcourt of the Golden State Warriors, and swept the Memphis Grizzlies with the same broom they used on the Lakers. That's what opened my eyes, and then I closed them because dirt got in my eyes from the sweep. Oh wait, that was just the thought of me losing $40 bucks for thinking old men can't jump. The Spurs are not a physical team, but they can get up and down the court with the best of them. Even though they have three aging stars, they would have a total of nine days of rest before Thursday's Game 1 match-up.

(Not to be confused with the Louisville Cardinals' Second Wind.  Click here, if you want to read my entry on the Cardinals' march to the NCAA Championship). 

During the regular season, the Heat and Spurs played chess with each other.  Both teams sent messages to one another by not playing their "Big Three" on the road during their regular season match-ups.  The Spurs were fined a quarter of a million dollars for resting their big players against the Heat. Even though they lost, they only lost by five in Miami. That told me that they would still be a great team even without their stars. The Heat countered the Spurs by resting James and Wade in the Alamo (Bosh played so they wouldn't get fined, in my opinion).  Amazingly, the Heat won by two on a Bosh three-pointer. I don't know if they knew they would see each other in the Finals, but they didn't want to give away any scripts. Now is the time to see if that fine was worth it. No scripts given out here!

(Unless you believe in NBA conspiracies--Ed).

I believe this is the last year for the big three in Miami. Between Bosh being soft and Wade's bum knee, they're getting weaker.  Plus, with the Cavaliers getting yet another #1 overall pick, going back to Cleveland looks more appetizing for LeBron (irony much?--Ed). Is Pat Riley going to have to choke a player to get them to do what he wants them to do?  The Spurs have been through this for over a decade. They know what's at stake. A dynasty is getting ready to take the floor. I'll put my dustpan away for this series. It's definitely going to be long. James is going to be looking at making his list of accomplishments even longer and all that work he has put into making a name for himself.  This is the time to use the talents that took him to South Beach.  This is the time to silence all of the critics and haters.  This is the time for James to once again feel the sweet joy of revenge.

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