By Josh Kramer
Mark it down. The third time will be the charm for the King. Call this the championship of threes. It is LeBron’s third appearance in the NBA Finals. James is coming off of his third MVP award. While Kevin Durant is coming off his third consecutive scoring title. Each team is led by an outstanding “Big Three.” Plus the pressure seems to be three times what it was in the conference finals on the King. As much as I and the rest of the world hate to admit it, it is time for LeBron to acquire a ring. Oklahoma City is a great team. They have proved that since December. The Thunder are young, exciting, and have outstanding overall team chemistry. But Miami won’t be denied this time. Besides, if OKC somehow pulls off the impossible, there may be a nuclear like explosion in South Beach.
On paper, this matchup is about as even as it gets. That is why I have been calling it a dream matchup for months now. Both teams finished second in their respective conference. The Heat won 46 games and had an average scoring margin of six points per game. OKC won 47 games and won by an average of 6.1 points per game. Both teams are led by an outstanding “Big Three.” And they split in their regular season battles. It is safe to say that on paper, not too much is revealed.
One key in OKC’s favor is the fact that they have home-court advantage. The Heat were nearly unbeatable at home this year, but showed their fair share of flaws when traveling. Next, the last time an MVP faced off with an NBA scoring champion in the finals was 1997. The scoring champ (Jordan) led his team to a victory over the MVP (Malone). But Miami also played in the NBA finals last year, while OKC did not. In addition, the Heat did better than the Thunder overall this year when their ”Big Three” were healthy. OKC’s ”Big Three” is not quite at the level of Miami’s outstanding trifecta, though they are very close. The agony of last year’s defeat will be a major driving force for the Heat. Expectations in Miami are so high, that if the Heat lose, it will be as if they had a worse year than the Charlotte Bobcats did. If the Thunder are to lose, there will be disappointment, but also a ton of pride in a very successful season. Losing is not an option for Miami.
Finally, Durant is playing great, but nobody is even on the same stratosphere as LeBron James right now. The guy is playing like a hybrid of Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, and Magic Johnson. As his teammates said after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, LeBron has that look in his eyes. He won’t be denied. He can’t be denied. It is time for the King to finally take his seat on the throne.
Nadal picks up number seven
Bjorn Borg who? Any questions about who the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) of clay-court tennis is? Borg was great, but Nadal is a “God on the clay” after taking home his seventh French Open title yesterday. Novak Djokovic was extraordinarily close to becoming the first player in 43 years to win four consecutive Grand Slams, but as long as Nadal is around and healthy, no player not named Nadal will be the last man standing Paris.
Boxing’s downward spiral continues
How many of you can name who the current Heavyweight Champion is (there are multiple by the way)? Saturday night was another major blemish on a dying sport. How can a winner of a fight say that he needs to look at the film after being declared the winner of the fight? I cannot remember an athlete getting robbed worst than Manny Pacquiao was on Saturday during my lifetime. Not only is the level and recognizability of the once mega-popular sport dwindling, now all of the trust is gone. Any suggestions on how to rescue the sport of boxing? I am running low on ideas.
No Geno no
UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is being sued for discrimination and sexual harassment. Auriemma has been one of the biggest names in women’s basketball for the better part of three decades now, winning seven national titles in 27 years. Hopefully, this accusation is false. We will have to wait and see as more information and facts are revealed. Just add it to the already very large and growing list of recent scandals in major collegiate athletics. Say it ain’t so Geno.
As I said last week, Ochocinco is a no go. Despite that fact, Miami is still giving the former Bengal/Patriot a chance. Unless the Dolphins plan on running Chad on straight go-routes and dramatically shrinking the playbook, this will likely be a major major waste of cash and will only add to the difficulties that lay ahead for rookie QB Ryan Tannehill. At least the show Hard Knocks will be happy as Chad will surely add some entertainment value. I am fully aware that the void left by Brandon Marshall’s departure is a big one, but why do this Miami?
Just some “Food for Thought.”
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