With the Chicago Bulls’ early round exit, it would be completely understandable that fans in Chicago could care less about the other series, and the rest of the NBA playoffs for that matter. I’m even finding it hard to watch games with the Bulls no longer in it, and find myself switching to Cubs games during breaks. It’s officially summertime in Chicago.
But while we Chicagoans wonder when Derrick Rose will return – and if he’ll be remotely close to what he was before the injury – and how long Luol Deng will be out after surgery on his wrist – which will most likely take place after the London games – there is still one thing we can try and do before the NBA heads into its offseason. Namely, watch LeBron James and the Miami Heat choke yet again.
Despite the Bulls’ recent hatred of the Indiana Pacers, most Chicago fans should rally around this hard-nosed, gets-under-your-skin team to keep James ring-less for another year.
There is a very good chance the Pacers could pull off the upset, which begs the question, where are the Miami Heat superstars?
Well, we know Chris Bosh is injured for the remainder of the series so we can put that “superstar” aside. As for the other two, it’s a mystery as to what’s going on in their heads.
Even though Bosh is sidelined with an abdomen injury and did not travel with the Heat to Indianapolis, it should still be the LeBron James and Dwyane Wade show throughout the postseason en route to James’ first NBA title.
Instead, the Heatles find themselves down two games to one with one more game in Indiana Sunday afternoon, where they will probably find themselves down 3-1 before heading back to South Beach. Another interesting statistical note – teams up 2-1 in a best-of-seven win the series 82% of the time, meaning the chances LeBron moves on are pretty slim.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves Bulls fans. This is after all LeBron James, the three-time league MVP, with Wade at his side. The two could easily carry the Heat to three more wins and escape this second-round scare.
This however is exactly the reason why the Heat will not win this series – along with a few other smaller factors – and will be out in six games.
For starters, James and Wade are relied upon too much by their teammates and the pressure is getting to them. Too often we see everyone standing around to watch James and Wade dominate or, as is the case now, save the day. With Bosh out, it’s now five on two. Advantage Pacers.
In the Heat’s first game without Bosh, no other player scored more than five points as James and Wade connected for 52 of the Heat’s 75 points. Advantage Pacers.
James also missed two key free throws in the final minute. Wade missed a layup and Mario Chalmers missed the tying three in the final seconds of that game two loss.
Fast forward to Thursday night. Wade arguably had the worst postseason game of his career shooting 2-of-13 with five points. James wasn’t any more impressive, just putting in 22 points of his own—missing free throws yet again. Chalmers led the Heat with 25, but do Heat fans and NBA analysts expect him to do that the rest of the series? Chalmers is an 8.3-point career guy. He’s the J.R. Smith when he was with the Denver Nuggets. He can go off from three-point land anytime, but can’t be trusted on a consistent basis.
On top of Wade’s terrible performance, he was seen yelling in his head coach’s ear about something. Both denied the argument, which is not healthy moving forward.
The Heat are terrible from beyond the arc shooting 5-of-42 or 11.9%. Indiana wasn’t much better until Game 3 when they shot 8-of-14.
My favorite segment on ESPN FirstTake is the “Blame Game” and I’m going to do it here. The three guys who get the most blame are James, Wade and Erik Spoelstra.
Wade deserves about 55% of the blame for his five point performance. You’re Batman as Skip Bayless constantly refers to you as. If your offensive game isn’t working, play defense.
Spoelstra gets 15% of the blame for the 94-75 blowout in Game 3. Your second-best player is having the worst night of his playoff career and you continue to leave him out to struggle further? What kind of coaching is that? He should’ve been sitting most of the second half. You only confused James more ,who wanted his “best friend” to feel involved.
Finally, James deserves 25% blame. You are the league MVP three times in the last four years. Yes, you left Cleveland because you didn’t have great pieces surrounding you and the management deserved blame during your tenure there. But you were still capable of leading the Cavaliers to the postseason with the best record in the NBA a couple of times, mind you, and an NBA Finals appearance. So do not make any excuses that it’s too hard to win on your own when you did it several years for Cleveland. And aside from Wade and Bosh, the pieces surrounding you in Miami are worse than what you had in Cleveland. You do not have the clutch gene and you are soft, as is the rest of the Miami team. Stop trying to have the world like you. Play basketball, win your ring and rub it in America’s face, as we all know you will when you do win a title.
No, I am not a math major, but I do know I have 5% blame to still dish out and this goes strictly on the Miami Heat’s other starters and bench. Isn’t it an honor to play with James, Wade and Bosh? All anyone sees are three guys blowing up the box score and the “other guys” standing around in awe. Didn’t Shane Battier sign with the Heat to win a title? But I guess that question is the answer in and of itself. Everyone wants to sign with this Miami squad because it seems like the easy path to a ring. Just stand out there with the three superstars, put a little effort in and cash out at the end of the season. Sad bit of news, that is not the way to win a title and James will be siting at home during the Finals watching someone else get ring number two.
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