Granted, it was only one game, but that game may have very well told us all we need to know about this Miami Heat bunch.
Maybe, they're just not good enough.
|Photo by: Ronald Martinez|
And the Heat better recognize that, NOW.
Two years ago when LeBron made his little "not one, not two, not three..." boast, while it rubbed most people the wrong way, it still seemed fairly plausible. After all, the most gifted physical specimen in basketball history was now joining forces with another established superstar (and champion to boot) in Dwyane Wade. Ohh, and Chris Bosh too (*que heavy sarcasm). So naturally, the sky seemed to be the limit.
They managed to make it to the Finals in their first season together, only to have their title hopes dashed almost single-handedly by Dirk Nowitzki, who basically willed Dallas to a championship in six games.
Chalk that one up to one of the game's greats finally getting his due.
This time around though, it's completely different.
Unlike the Mavericks from last year, who were mainly a club full of veterans on the back ends of their careers, this Thunder team's primary stars aren't even sniffing what will be the prime of their careers yet.
In other words -- they're not going ANYWHERE. In fact, they're only going to get BETTER.
So what started as a quest to obtain multiple championships for Miami could have quite possibly taken a very ugly turn last night. While it may sound like an overstatement to some, the reality for the Heat -- and more importantly, LeBron -- is starting to look pretty cut-and-dry: If they can't get past Oklahoma City this season, they're never winning a title.
I'm sure Miami and LeBron fans alike think that's a somewhat ridiculous statement, but really, it would be hard to argue against it.
There's no law that states all great players have to get a ring at some point. Plenty before LeBron came along went ringless. Plus, it's not like the guy is getting any younger. He's not in the twilight of his career by any stretch of the imagination, but Father Time catches everyone eventually.
And let's face it, if this current Heat squad can't get the job done this year, they're getting blown up. I mean, how are they not? For the second-consecutive season, they will have shown that they just weren't good enough to get the job done.
This group was put together to win championships NOW. And by NOW, I mean last year. This venture wasn't supposed to be a project, or some 3-4 season plan. If they can't beat the Thunder, a team that's only going to become an even bigger obstacle as the years pass, it's time to go back to the drawing board.
And the first guy that needs to be on the chopping block, is D-Wade.
Is Wade one of the faces of the organization? Yes. Is he a champion? Of course. Hell, he's even been one of my favorite players over the last decade. But the fact of the matter is, Dwyane Wade has lost his mojo. His "it" factor. And once that's gone, it's nearly impossible to ever get back. He now defers to LeBron entirely too much, and he no longer seems to possess the heart or killer instinct that helped make him one of the game's truly elite players.
Anyone else catch his pre-game speech to the team last night? Completely generic. Emotionless. Uninspiring.
In a word: Pathetic.
Again -- it was only one game, and obviously, the series is still far from over. But as a whole, Miami had better quickly realize what all really hangs in the balance for them in these Finals, because if they don't, it's going to be over sooner rather than later.
And I'm not just talkin' the season either...