LeBron James and the Miami Heat are once again champions of the National Basketball Association. They defeated the San Antonio Spurs, earning the right to keep the trophy in Miami for another year. The dominance this team has shown since first putting together its big three is astonishing.
Three trips to the NBA Finals in three seasons, and two titles. Sure, they were taken to the brink of elimination by the Spurs, and perhaps were a bit lucky to come back and win game 6, however that doesn’t matter now that they have secured another championship. That is all people will remember.
For all the pressure this team has been under to succeed since it was assembled, LeBron James and his fellow superstars have thrived. Under scrutiny from the media every time they give so much as a hint that they are in fact human beings rather than basketball superheroes.
Most of the pressure LeBron and his teammates have been under is due to LeBron himself. Upon revealing to the world his decision to turn his back on his hometown team in Cleveland and “take his talents to South Beach” via a ridiculous production to increase the drama surrounding him called “the Decision” James exponentially increased the scrutiny he would face.
Furthering the pressure was his comments regarding the titles the Heat would win while he and the big three were together. Infamously saying that they would win “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” when asked how many championships they would win at a pep rally while sitting alongside teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on July 9, 2010.
Asked about what it felt like to bring home a second straight title, after tying the record for points scored in a game 7 of the NBA Finals with 37, James told reporters that:
“It feels great. This team is amazing. And the vision that I had when I decided to come here is all coming true. Through adversity, through everything we’ve been through, we’ve been able to persevere and to win back-to-back championships. It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’m happy to be part of such a first-class organization.
I mean, this is what it’s all about. I came here to win championships and to be able to go back to back. Two championships in three years so far. It’s the ultimate. I don’t want to think about next year right now, what our possibilities are next year. Got to take full advantage of this one. It’s an unbelievable moment for our team.”
The Miami Heat are beginning to deliver on the vast order their polarizing superstar placed just three years ago. They now have back to back championships and look like they might just have six more in them. Obviously the cream of the NBA’s crop, the team will once again be favorites to win it all next season.
San Antonio looked to be a threat to their stops at a Re-Heat championship, however they came up short and will be another year older next season. If they failed to stop Miami this year, they probably won’t fair any better should they face off again next season due to the vast age gap between the two clubs.
So who else could potentially stand in the way of a Miami three – Heat? Oklahoma City and Chicago are possibilities, as well as Indiana, who gave them a tough fight in this year’s Eastern Conference Final. Miami has shown the ability to handle all three of these teams already however, and they would have to make significant adjustments if they wanted to beat LeBron and company.
If anyone wants to stop a three – Heat they will have to play tough inside, and out muscle Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen and Chris Bosh in the post. That is something that both Indiana and San Antonio were able to have moderate success at, and is one of the few potential weak spots in this lineup. Taking care of the ball and preventing the Heat from getting out in space and running the court is another crucial step in beating this dominant team.
Another factor that could hurt the chances of a three – Heat is the injury to Dwyane Wade’s knee. If his knee doesn’t hold up, LeBron would have to shoulder a huge portion of the load to win a title, something he was unable to do in Cleveland and looked vulnerable doing at times in this year’s post season.
The Miami Heat are well on their way to achieving LeBron’s lofty goal of more than seven NBA Championships. They have won back to back NBA Finals, and will certainly be the favorites to three – Heat. Teams will have to bring their A game if they want to get in the way of the history LeBron and the Heat are set on making in the future.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express