Lets think back to 2 years ago, there was Lebron James's last game as a Cavalier. It ended with yet another bitter defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. Then the summer that followed hosted the most intense free agency signing period we've ever seen including big name free agents such as Lebron himself, Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, and a few others. With a number of them choosing there destinations early the world waited as James would make his decision. Which he did in the infamous hour TV special titled "The Decision". All the major cities watched with fingers crossed, and as he uttered the words South Beach he joined a remake of Boston's blueprint for success, however his public image went from hometown hero to NBA villain.
Fast forward a bit, Miami adds fuel to the fire after adding James and Bosh with a pre-season celebration. James again paints the target on his back even bigger, with his "Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7..." statement. Lebron James at that moment either had extreme fans, or extreme doubters almost nothing in the middle. Now despite the Finals failure in 2011, early season failure to execute late game situations and the flourishing hate that continues to grow for the Miami Heat they are one win away from winning it all. The Heat team that we have been watching this series, and in fact the whole playoffs seems to be what Dwyane Wade, and Heat President Pat Riley had envisioned.
Last night it was another grind it out, nail biter as the Heat pulled away late with a 104-98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC was red hot from the start as they had an early 17 point lead in the first half. However with a lack of production from their bench throughout the game they couldn't hold on to the lead. Sixth man of the Year James Harden shoulders some of the blame with a puzzling performance, 8 points off of 2-10 shooting. However the reason this game was still close is thanks to Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who was sensational in all four quarters. He put up 43 points, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. In the fourth quarter he took over, and lit up the Heat defense. Still with Kevin Durant with the most quiet 28 point stat lines he has ever had, and no one else performing at at high level, it wasn't enough. Lebron James(26), Dwyane Wade(25), and Mario Chalmers(25) combined for 76 points becoming the second trio in Finals history to all score 25 points or more in one game. With some clutch shots by James, and Chalmers in the last 2 minutes of the game they were able to take game 4.
Now with Game 5 on it's way, the Thunder urgency must be at it's highest. This team has talent, and drive but do they have enough to win 3 straight and save their championship hopes? History says no, as no team in NBA history has ever come back to win down 3-1. In fact since the NBA Finals has changed it's formats to the 2-3-2, the team up 3-1 is 13-0. So can OKC do the impossible and rewrite NBA history? Cause more drama in the legacy of Lebron James and the Miami Heat ? I'm not to sure, and just to add salt to the wound Lebron James is having the best Finals of his life. Averaging 29.3 points, 6 assists, 10 rebounds, and a free throw percentage over 80% he'll close this out. Come thursday coverage may be heading back to OKC, or the doubters of the 3-time NBA MVP may finally be silenced.
Game 5 of the NBA Finals is Thursday at 9pm, On ABC