File your vacation leaves today everybody: The 2013 Eastern Conference Finals will be coming to a planet-shaking Game 7 conclusion tomorrow. This epic series have seen the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers trading victories like some sort of high-intensity exchange-gift bonanza, and one team will finally get to book that sought-after ticket to the NBA Finals.
After six games of incredibly fun basketball, the biggest themes are out in the open, namely:
1) Miami’s Big Three have been reduced to The Great One, as Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski explains in his usual grave, dramatic tones.
Wade and Bosh have been non-factors. Credit goes, in equal parts, to the Pacers’ assemblage of gangly, active, and committed defenders; the lack of lift in Wade’s legs; and Bosh’s lackadaisical effort to impose his mark on the offensive end. These factors have left James in a position not unlike his hero-ball days in Cleveland.
Alarming is the Pacer’s continued growth as a team, appearing in stark contrast to the Heat’s mounting reliance on Lebron. Phenomenal as James is, we all know that the Playoffs are won as a team. If these two great players are going to show up, well, they better show up in the next game.
And not in this manner:
2) In Game 7s, The Great One usually delivers the numbers, though not always the win.
Lebron James is about to play the fourth Game 7 of his career. The first one came in 2006 against their semifinal tormentors, the Detroit Pistons, where he scored 27 points, caromed 8 rebounds, and dished 2 assists in a loss.
In 2008, he ended with a line of 45-5-6 as his Cavs once again lost, this time to eventual champs, the Boston Celtics.
Lebron got his first Game 7 win as a member of the Heat last year, getting sweet revenge on the Boston Celtics with 31-12-2 stat sheet—on the way to eventually winning the NBA Championship against the OKC Thunder.
James numbers are already gaudy coming into Game 7, and all eyes will be on him. People will expect nothing less than a James whose mindset is to raise his game further.
If he wins, then by all means, dance, Lebron, dance!
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