That’s the age I was during the 2006 Finals. I was in Year 11, and had been in America over Easter. I’d even managed to go to Game 1 and 2 of Miami’s first round series against the Bulls. That year, I wanted the Heat to win the Finals, but not enough that I couldn’t see just how badly the Mavs got railroaded by the refs.

Five years later, the Mavs brain trust and Dirk Nowitzki still carry those scars and the taunts fobbed at them after (specifically, the “soft” label). They’re hungrier than any team for that ring.

Of course, there’s a little problem – to get it, they’re gonna have to go through the two best players in the league and a rejuvenated Chris Bosh. Yes, that’s right. With the Heat’s 83-80 win over the Bulls today, we’re getting a rematch of the 2006 Finals.

The Bulls dominated for most of the game, but a late 4th-quarter surge by the boys of South Beach gave it to Miami and with the win, a place in the NBA Finals.

Come on, say it with me.


Points for today.

3 Points – LeBron James. 28 points, 11 rebounds and leading the late comeback? 3 points, baby.

This game was just LeBron doing what LeBron does, only with his newly-discovered killer instinct he never really had in Cleveland.

These whole series, he’s been stepping it up a notch when the game’s on the line and demanding the big shots. With the Cavs, it always seemed that he was just taking them cause he had to, he never wanted to. Indeed, that’s what I believed he would struggle with in Miami – being the go-to guy in the clutch if Wade was covered. He’s proved me and everyone else wrong.

I know I’m hardly the first (or even the 526th) person to suggest this, but – maybe LeBron needed to do all the stuff he did last off-season to find his inner killer. Maybe it just wasn’t working out being this goofball with incredible talent who was generally loved by the public. Maybe he needed to become a villain. End pop psychology there. Suffice to say he was pretty damn good.

2 Points – Chris Bosh. Few players in the NBA irritate me more than Bosh. I hate how he basically is the bitch of LeBron and Wade. I hate his stupid ugly face. But especially I’m irritated that he only seems to turn it on when he feels like it.

Well, he’s been On all this series. Today his stats don’t tell the story. 20/10 is impressive enough, but Bosh destroyed Carlos Boozer. There’s no other way of putting it. He took his lunch money.

I’m not sure he’ll have such an impact against the Mavs, given that Dirk these days is at least a par defender against jump shooters like Bosh – but the Heat need him at his best if they’re gonna win the title.

1 Point – Dwyane Wade. All the Big 3 get rep today. Wade, along with LeBron, led the 18-3 run in the final quarter to win the game – but he only gets 1 point because Bosh hasn’t become a consistent enough contributor for his good days to go ignored yet.

Is this Miami side LeBron’s team, or is it Wade’s team? We probably won’t know until we have to see who takes the final shot of Game 7. For now, though, LeBron’s taking the lead but Wade’s doing pretty well even as he’s having some niggling injuries.

The Bulls can take a lot of good from this season, especially with regards to Derrick Rose’s emergence as a true superstar of the league (and the MVP to show for it). I think they’re one wing player away from the Finals yet – they need a guy who can get his own shot and take pressure off Rose. But it was a great season for them, with Rose’s emergence and Tom Thibodeau’s defensive schemes keeping them in till the very end.

Robd has something planned as a Finals preview, so I will leave it here tonight.


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