Tuesday, June 18, 2013

COURTSIDE VIEW: Straight Sixes

Johnny J

Dice have six sides to it--six faces--with one one shot on landing on six for every time its rolled. The odds of rolling a six are 5:1. You can fail five times while only being successful one time. Now moving to a bigger scale. The Miami Heat were favored to beat the San Antonio Spurs, 5:12. That means if someone was betting on the game, they would have received $5 profit for every $12 wagered. But for a team that was favored to win it, the odds are not that high. Now with the Spurs leading three games to two, the outcome of the series can either end in game six or seven. The Heat have to win two games and the odds of them winning are 3:1 in seven games. The odds of the Spurs ending it in game six is 6:1 or 13:2 in seven. The odds are higher because they're not favored. Now for LeBron James to win Finals MVP is 4:9, while Tony Parker's odds are 9:2. But for a role player such as Danny Green on winning are a whopping 30:1. Right now he is the MVP. "Straight Sixes" is the discussion of the Heat's big three vs the Spurs' old three. A look at game six and LeBron James changing his number to six.

The Miami Heat are on the verge of being defeated in the NBA Finals for the second time in three years. James recorded a triple-double in a loss in game one and has been showing flashes of what an MVP should look like by simply looking more for his shots. Triple-doubles are astonishing in an NBA Finals, but it don't mean squat in a loss. Chris Bosh is more of a role player than a star. He puts mediocre stats up, but the biggest surprise to me is Dwyane Wade finding, looking, and driving to find his stats. Wade is doing what he has to do in order to take the pressure off of the King. In game five, he had 25 points and 10 assists. I just now remembered his name is "Flash." Thanks for finally reminding me, D-Wade. While Wade did what he had to, Parker did what he needed to, scoring 26 points. He is the leader of the team.  He knew the Spurs can't be down in the series going back to South Beach. He made Mario Chalmers look like a little kid who couldn't defend. Tim Duncan is amazing at his age. Still a very dangerous low-post threat, posting a double-double in Game Five and has been throughout the series. Manu Ginobili finally found his game in the starting lineup. Welcome to the party; better late than never! It was a great move by Gregg Popovich. It's what needed to be done to get his game going.

Looking ahead to Game Six, I expect the Miami Heat to win. The series has gone win, lose, win, lose for both teams. Home court advantage doesn't seem to matter. I know the NBA is happy as they're getting the most out of this NBA Finals (So is the TV Networks that pony up large sums of money into these Finals--Ed). If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Ginobili will be in the starting lineup again. Put him, Parker, and Duncan around shooters like Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. That is a dangerous inside and out combination. Green went 6 for 10 behind the arc in Game Five. I felt like everything he threw at the rim was going in. This kid from the University of North Carolina, (Yeah Tar Heels!) has really made a name for himself. No more dancing in the Cleveland Cavaliers circles to entertain James. On the other side, I look for James to be more aggressive in the open-court. It's win or go home!  I don't expect him to do much passing.  I also expect Wade to also be aggressive. He looked good the last two games. I can finally stop saying, "There was a D-Wade sighting on the floor." Besides it's kind of late to make changes in a do or die game. The Spurs experimented with Ginobili and it payed off.

I bet when James and company were dancing on stage in their introduction to the Heat fans a couple of years ago, they probably thought that getting a ring wouldn't be this hard. Now on the verge of dancing back to the couch, I look at the man who changed his jersey number to build his own legacy. James gave up the number 23, for his Olympic jersey number six. He has accomplished a lot, including winning a gold medal. He has only one ring though, which doesn't scream "better than Michael Jordan." So with him changing his number, he showed to Jordan what he thinks about him and all the talk had died down on the comparison. Currently, James does have a lot of individual trophies, but he lacks the most important ones--Championships. Changing your number is fine (Kobe Bryant has went from wearing 8 to 24, but he has five rings!). So it's safe to say he had built his legacy around being a champion and LeBron has built his around being the best player in the game. Jordan changed his number from 23 to 45. Oh wait, he has six rings! How many rings does James have? One. Kobe and Jordan earned the right to change their number. Just like Jordan said, "I'll take Kobe Bryant over Lebron James with the first pick."

Landing on six: Gambling always has the number six involved. The lottery consists of six numbers for at least three of the big games. Straight Sixes: the old big three versus the Heat's big three. It's looking forward to Game Six and the legacy James has built wearing number six. I'm looking forward to see how James is going to come out. Is he going to look to get the Finals MVP with another triple-double, or going to consider winning it all is more important and that he has to take over?  The Heat are better with the floor being spread out, meaning Mike Miller and Ray Allen in at the same time. The Spurs are going to continue to put up points with their "we can't miss mentality." The Spurs are thinking of winning their 5th championship in Game 6 and cementing their own legacy as well.  Game 6 can't arrive fast enough!

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