• What a season. As for the deciding game, it was called correctly, and the Heat could not take advantage of it. Poor rotation defense, and namely poor free throw shooting did Miami in. Dirk Nowitski is a worthy champion no matter how it was gained or how poorly he played in the deciding game. His grace in these playoffs is to be admired. This season was a success overall and is ushering in a new order and the first shot in a rolling dynasty for the foreseeable future. Out with the old and in with the new, namely the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, and Miami Heat. As for the new champion, we as Heat fans will lend the same legitimacy fans of the Mavs lent the 2006 Champion Heat. We can leave it at that.
• As for the “Haters”. Most of the hate came from the fans of three franchises. One, the Los Angeles Lakers heaped a ton of hate and vitriol upon these new pretenders of their throne. In the end, their defense of their throne was but a mere popcorn fart and they fell short of redeeming their hate. As for the fans of the Chicago Bulls, they were bested and dominated head to head and they are left with the realization that they cannot overcome the new Eastern Conference Champion without a serious overhaul.
For the chief antagonist, the Boston Celtics, they were told by Heat fans and for the most part the Heat organization that the bullseye was squarely on their backs for retirement. In the end, vindication was achieved as the retirement and dismissal of this last Celtics “dynasty” was achieved and eliminated at the hands of the Miami Heat. Their time is done. And it seems that it is not to return, as a well deserved time in the NBA wilderness is at hand for that franchise. The Miami Heat has taken the mantle as perennial favorites and it is a good bet, that they will not relinquish it for a while. This is just a start. A very good one at that.
• As for the team, we saw the growth of role players into real NBA performers. Joel Anthony is now a valued NBA interior defender and a rotation player going forward. Mario Chalmers is now a guy that must be kept as a piece of this franchise at a modest cost, for his clutch and willful performances in these playoffs. RIO has grown. A guy that Heat fans not only can hold as a fan favorite, but as a valuable piece to the championship puzzle. We can expect healthy starts for the two most valuable pieces off the bench in Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem. Both made huge contributions, in less than 100% health in these playoffs. Both have earned our respect. For the Big Three, all three had their moments in these playoffs, and they make up the nucleus of what should be a dominant run deep into the playoffs for many years to come.
For LeBron James, he grew as one of ours all year while facing alot of adversity and vitriol from the outside world. Without him, none of this would have been possible, A jewel of a player. His hoisting of the Larry O’Brien is a matter of when, not if. Chris Bosh, who battled the doubters all year, and the frankly, idiotic and ignorant NBA media to have a great playoff run, his best days are coming, and further development awaits. It was a pleasure to watch that man play basketball this year.
Dwyane Wade. What can be said? Our captain, and the undisputed best big game player in the NBA today, showed his wares yet again. In a crunch, nobody else can be counted on like him. With his recruitment and his play on the court, he has surpassed Dan Marino as South Florida’s most favorite son. A champion in every sense of the word, and soon to be a multiple champion in reality. To win, you must lose, as goes the old NBA refrain. It is true yet again. The Heat has gained it’s right of passage, and now they will have a large window to accumulate banners.
• In the team’s construction, a great job was done by Pat Riley and Micky Arison in sparing no expense to cover up the deficiencies during the season and prepare the roster for a deep playoff run. Erik Dampier was a good addition for the season, although he was an afterthought in the playoffs, it is a testament to Heat culture how he was integrated. Mike Bibby on the other hand failed to pay dividends in the playoffs and might have played himself out of a return contract. James Jones has earned a return, although he has more pressing immediate business as the Miami Heat’s player representative in CBA meetings with the owners to avert a lockout. Coach Erik Spoelstra has earned everybody’s respect as one of the NBA’s finest young coaches. He grew into his position all year, and I wouldn’t want anybody else at the helm.
• What a success. This is what it is all about. The pain you feel from a late season loss that ends in the championship round is what you follow sports for. That this team gave you this, in it’s first season together, only spells many good things to come. The finest organization in South Florida sports as well as quite possibly the finest organization in the NBA, has delivered and promises to deliver much, much more. As crazy as this sounds, savor this season, as it is only the beginning. What a run this will be. It is off to a very good start. Remember what the rafters at American Airlines Arena looked like before this run and then marvel at what it looks like when this thing is over many years from now. OUR RUN HAS JUST BEGUN. Enjoy the off-season, and the talk of CBA consternation, I hope to see you all again in October (hopefully). LET’S GO HEAT.
(I will post a monthly article in the offseason dealing with the issues in the NBA, and will post daily updates during Free Agency.)
It has been a pleasure serving you all (the best fans in the NBA) this season, and I hope you enjoyed my work.