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Miami Makes Me Eat Crow Again

When it comes to sports, I hate being wrong.  And when it comes to basketball, any challenge of my knowledge is the equivalent of disagreeing with Papal Infallibility.  Okay, so maybe that is a hyperbole, but I do pride myself on my love and knowledge of basketball.  So when I make two predictions that aren't even close to the results, I feel the need to admit how much I love eating crow.

I picked Miami in seven.  They won in five and it wasn't a close series.  I picked Chicago in seven after game one.  I actually couldn't have been more wrong with that prediction as Miami won the next four games in a row.  I can safely say that I won't make the same mistake again as I am picking Miami in six.  I know that I just preached how I want Dirk to win a ring more than any player in the NBA, but that ignores the objectivity of the series.

Yes, Miami doesn't have anyone that can effectively guard Dirk (or so we think), but this team is the best defensive team in the league.  They finished second behind Chicago in defensive efficiency, but have shown marked improvement throughout the playoffs.  Just as Derrick Rose bought into Thibodeau's system, LeBron and Dwyane have committed themselves to defense and it shows.  Miami rotates faster, switches more effectively, and rebounds the ball despite giving up a big size advantage.  The Heat have transformed in to a defensive juggernaut.

The only thing scarier than their defense is the fourth quarter performance that Wade and James put on two nights ago.  Teams have a hard time scoring on the Heat, but if the two of them dominate the offensive side of the court like that, the series could be shorter than six games.  The media has never knocked Wade for his performances in the fourth quarter of big games, but LeBron has had the reputation of shrinking in these moments.

Two nights ago, LeBron channeled his inner-2007 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons, and ripped the heart out of the Bulls and city of Chicago.  Drilling a three to cut the game to two, stealing the subsequent Rose pass and hitting a step-back jumper just before the shot clock expired, James put the game in the hands of the Heat.  He capped off his memorable performance by blocking Rose's final attempt to tie the game, erasing the early season doubts and criticisms in three short minutes.

Miami has grown faster than I could've expected.  Their stars bonded and have come to trust each other and their coach, Spoelstra.  Dallas has a shot, but a small one at best.  I won't make the same mistake I made the past two times and underestimate the Heat.  And if NBA fans don't want Miami to win many more championships beyond this first, then they better hope that the collective bargaining agreement makes some serious changes.  If it doesn't, Larry O'Brian trophy better take its home to South Beach.


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