Not One , Not Two , Not Three ………. Still It Floats …. The Miami Heat
By tophatal ………. 06/06/2012 …….. 02:35 AM (EST)
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is now doing his leveled best to make sure that his team doesn’t advance to the NBA Finals this season . In game five of their Eastern Conference Series Finals the Heat players have now dug themselves into a hole so deep , that it might prove to be inextricable to get themselves out of . Spoelstra is now being out-coached by his conference counterpart Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics . And to make matters worse the Miami Heat’s trio of All Stars now seem to have lost focus and that zeal to win .
Slide-show for your perusal.
Now while LeBron James has led all scorers on the Heat throughout the playoffs but it has been his overall reluctance to lead the team and take that vital final shot that now seems to the liability that has set this series on its present path. James may well be one of the most dynamic players in the NBA but he’s simply not fulfilling the role expected of him as a leader . So much so , that questions are being asked as to his character and will to win. LeBron James is no Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant for that matter ………. got it ? Good ! He may well be saying all of the right things in his post-game interviews but his demeanor indicates otherwise when the Miami Heat have lost . Rhetoric becomes the norm and the inane idiotic and somewhat tame responses show the player to be too mild-mannered . It may well be a reflection of the coach , and the very fact that this organization from top to bottom has become complacent , ever since Chris Bosh , James and Dwyane Wade came together as a team at the start of the 2010-11 season . From thereon-in , the expectations were high and Pat Riley , the orchestrater of this maneuver has simply let things play out , while also tinkering with the roster as and when he saw fit .
For their part the Boston Celtics while boasting their three “Elder Statesmen” of the NBA , in , Ray Allen , Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have simply gone about playing their game while stifling the Miami Heat with their defensive presence . Rajon Rondo , the other piece to this Celtics’ puzzle has proven to be outstanding throughout the playoffs even when he hasn’t been called upon to be prodigious in terms of scoring . His leadership skills and distribution of the ball has been the catalyst that has driven the Boston Celtics to the point where they now stand one game away from making another appearance in the NBA Finals , as they seek their 18th NBA title .
Doc Rivers for his part has been judicious in the use of his bench and it has bore fruit for the erstwhile coach as he has seen productive minutes from Marquis Daniels and Mickael Pietrus . And in game five it was Pietrus’ sharp shooting from beyond the arc that reaped the dividends for the Celtics and now places them on the brink of eliminating the Heat from the postseason. For Danny Ainge and team owner Wyc Grousbeck this has served notice that the franchise hasn’t become a dormant edifice simply living on past glories . Granted , there may well have been talk that the front office would simply have to dismantle this team prior to the start of the season or if they were unable to make strong run prior to the trade deadline , then the premise would be , Ainge would set about trading Ray Allen and quite possibly Rajon Rondo . The Celtics made their play by simply sticking to the traits that the franchise has become known for under Doc Rivers , and that is to play great defense and move the ball quickly whilst in transition . At the same time it has to be said that Kevin Garnett in the latter part of the season and during the postseason has been playing like the All Star we have known him to be , and putting up some of the best numbers of his illustrious career .
Now for the Miami Heat this has to a worrying ” cause for concern” , especially in light of their travails last season during the playoffs and Finals against eventual champions , the Dallas Mavericks . Preordained as the early season favorites , the Heat parlayed their season into an appearance in the postseason where their failure to “seal the deal” against the Mavericks came back to bite them in the ass . And the complacency shown by the players simply showed a heightened sense of reality that simply talking about wanting to win multiple titles while failing to put in the work necessary doesn’t excuse you from the criticism leveled , especially when it has been justified . Pat Riley was quick to jump to the defense of his players, primarily his trio of All Stars . And for LeBron James , while he states that prior to the start of this season he had an epiphany , wherein he felt he no longer wanted to be seen as a villain . Can you imagine how he will be viewed should the Miami Heat bow out at this stage of the NBA Playoffs ? To hell with the thought of him not wanting to be seen as a villain , he will be thought of as a spineless imbecile , whose only purpose has been to highlight his prodigious talent , while chasing after the “Almighty Dollar” . And as one of the highest paid players in the NBA , while also being one of corporate America’s most recognized pitch-men , James has been able to parlay his fame while becoming one of the highest earning athletes in the world . With an estimated wealth of $125 million from his endorsement deals and various business interests , it has to be said that LeBron James’ life has been a luxurious one , ever since he entered the NBA in 2003 . .
Certainly , there can be no denying that he has been coddled by the print and television media alike since his days as a high school basketball prodigy in Akron , Ohio. And that was borne out when he taken number one overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers . The player while having led the organization to their lone appearance in the NBA Finals , it has to be said that team owner Dan Gilbert and the front office staff did little to assist the player in bolstering the roster in terms of its long-term future and ambition. With the firing of Mike Brown and indifference between the James and Gilbert led to bitter and infantile feud between the duo . Well chronicled at the time , and the subsequent decision ____ pardon the pun _____ by LeBron James to leave the franchise as a free agent and make his way to Miami , showed that while James wanted to win now . It cannot have escaped the fact that the player still showed a great deal of immaturity . His wish to publicize his decision and make a mockery of the NBA image was played into with the all of the idiocy one would now come to expect from the self-serving ESPN cable sports broadcast outlet . Jim Gray pandered to James’ every whim , while playing out what should have taken no less than 15 seconds as a segment , was turned into an hour-long segue by the both the interviewer and interviewee . The fact that the player was paid $250.000 , which he would then publicly state , that the fee was donated to one of his favorite charities , The Boys & Girls Club of America . That , in of-itself would suggest that James is and has always been prepared to use the press to meet his needs , just as as long as he is always seen in a positive light .
Now comes the hard part for LeBron James , if he and his teammates fail to erase this 3-2 deficit and make the NBA Finals , to whom will he point an accusing finger , if not at himself , and the rest of the Heat players ? Will it be aimed at the press or quite possibly his head coach , Erik Spoelstra ? As we know, the NBA has now become about the players , specifically its high-profiled stars , rather than its teams . A creation in of-itself by David Stern and the league hierarchy as they chase after the “Almighty Dollar” rather than what is simply in the best interests of the game . And while the press would like to paint a wonderful picture of the small market teams having something of a big presence this postseason . Truth be known , what they fail to indicate is that without the presence of one the big market teams , there simply isn’t a story to be had with regard to the interest of the fans and the postseason . Let’s get be real for one moment , if the NBA Finals are without the participation of the Boston Celtics , Miami Heat or the Los Angeles Lakers , then there’s simply no interest even amongst the first-time observer of the game (NBA). David Stern would have you believe otherwise , but I have never believed him to be the most astute of businessmen to begin with ! Only an idiot would suggest what in essence was a ” bailout” of 22 teams in 2009 and 2010 to the tune of $750 million should not be seen as a bailout , and more of the league assisting its teams in their time of need . The fact that these very same franchises have simply obfuscated their own financial responsibilities in terms of reining in their costs seems lost on the NBA commissioner . However, he chooses to coerce and cajole the NBPA (union) to acquiesce to the league’s demands for an even share in the game’s revenues . You’d be hard pressed to verify a statement , where David Stern has pressed the team owners and general managers to look at their expenditure in terms of salaries and that is in spite guaranteed contracts and a “soft salary cap” ($ 57.5 million) within the NBA .
Fate at one time or another can deal us all a rather bad hand , at times when that semblance of adversity is actually within our midst , we can either choose to face it head on , or we can choose to shy away from that obstacle . Given what the Miami Heat endured last season in the NBA Finals , I would have to say should they fall to the Celtics at this point of the postseason , not only will I be surprised but I would definitely be one of the first to level a great deal of criticism at the Heat players, coaching staff and the entire front office of this organization ! Complacency is one thing , but the sheer conceitedness shown by the franchise in recent years without having actually achieved anything of real merit in the last two years . A failed attempt and the excuses that were forthcoming from the Miami Heat , showed how soft that team just happened to be . And that was further emphasized this season by the Chicago Bulls’ ….. Joakim Noah , when he stated that Miami Heat were simply ” too Hollywood” ………. more flash than dash , and nothing of any substantive value . He may well be proven right, should LeBron James and his teammates bow out in the Eastern Conference Finals .
The clamor of the print and television media to add their own post-script to the Heat’s season is already in full swing . And I’ve no doubt that the editions of the Miami Herald , Sun Sentinel and Palm Beach Post may not be so favorable in their coverage of the South Florida NBA franchise . And dare I say , many of the NBA tv analysts who had the Miami Heat marching all the way to the Finals and then hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of it all , might now be rethinking that premise . It’s not as if the health of the professional basketball franchises within the state of Florida as they now stand, are in a very positive position . A defibrillator is needed for the Orlando Magic , after their totally inept season and we might just be on the cusp of seeing one of the NBA’s presumed elite teams in the Miami Heat being hoisted on their own petard (backside) . Much of that through their own doing ! Your thoughts ?
Picture gallery for your perusal .
With the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs now being on the brink of being eliminated from the NBA postseason , are you at all surprised by what you have witnessed from both of these teams ? By all means leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be of relevance to the subject matter . And once again , thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has been greatly appreciated !
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 05: Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics fights for rebound position against Dwyane Wade (3) and Udonis Haslem (40) of the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …
(2) Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics posts up against LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …
(3) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 05 : Mickael Pietrus (28) of the Boston Celtics passes the ball to teammates Rajon Rondo (9) against LeBron James (6) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …
(4) Boston Celtics’ Ray Allen (20) congratulates Rajon Rondo (9) during the second half of Game 5 in their NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoffs series against the Miami Heat, Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Miami. The Celtics won 94-90 . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….
(5) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …
(6) (L-R) Mickael Pietrus (28) , Ray Allen (20) and Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics walk up court against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …
(7) Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat looks on in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….
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