We have reached the season three finale of Miami Heat Against the World, the greatest show in television history. Just when you think the show has peaked and might get canceled, it gets renewed for another four episodes.
In its third consecutive finals appearance, the Heat now takes on the San Antonio Spurs, an extremely experienced and worthy foe. So much mystery remains as to what fans might witness this upcoming week and a half, because the two teams, although having met twice this season and resulting in two Heat victories, have really yet to face each other. In the two games, neither team came to the table full-strength, so it's impossible to know exactly how they'll match up against one another. Red Mamba shooting threes over Rashard Lewis' outstretched hand doesn't exactly tip us off as to which way to lean in this series. So let's take a matchup-by-matchup look.
LeBron James vs. Everyone. Because MVP. Because always.
LeBron has extra motivation in this series. In 2007, LeBron was flat-out loved by everyone. Then it all began. LeBron's Cavs faced the Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals, and by "faced" I mean "Greg Popovich and the Spurs emptied their entire ballsack on the Cavs' collective faces." The Spurs swept the Cavs with an effortless quickness, and the shit cloud over LeBron James' head materialized almost instantly. Can he win the big game? How dare he call himself "the King"?! I asked LeBron James for change for a dollar, and all I got back was this phone that only vibrates, or something -- I'm bad at jokes. Imagine: If he had been able to lead that Cavs team to a championship that season, he would have avoided most of the mockery and questioning.
LeBron hasn't hidden the fact that he wants revenge, recently saying:
"I have something in me that they took in '07 -- beat us on our home floor, celebrated on our home floor," James said. "I won't forget that. You shouldn't as a competitor. You should never forget that."
It's common knowledge that a vengeful Cobra Dick is the most lethal Cobra Dick in all the land. There is no anti-venom. You just wear diapers the rest of your life and deal with it. LeBron is Pee-Wee, and the Spurs are Francis; LeBron wants his bike back. What LeBron wants, LeBron gets.
Tony Parker vs. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole
Tony Parker somehow flies under the radar for huge chunks of a season at a time. Well, not somehow -- it's because he plays in San Antonio. If there weren't a guy named LeBron James in the NBA, chances are Tony Parker would have been named MVP this season, in which he averaged 20.3 points, 7.6 assists, and 3 rebounds.
It feels like Parker is 38, but he's only 31. He's exceptionally good, and the Heat will need to keep an eye on him at all times. His ability to maneuver to the basket could spell trouble for Mario Chalmers, especially foul-wise, because we have all seen that Mario is good for at least two stupid fouls a game. Chances are Spoelstra will use Norris Cole more often, hoping his speed and tenacity on defense will bother Parker. This is your classic "Can't stop him, home to contain him" situation here. You can't expect Tony Parker to have a terrible series against Chalmers and Cole; you just have to hope the two combined can hold their own. Whether it be with their own offense on the other end or by forcing Parker to pass to the open man more often than not, the duo can't let Parker take over games the way he tends to do at times.
Dwyane Wade vs. His Complete Asshole of a Knee
Seriously, Dwyane Wade's knees are assholes. Not like literally, because nobody needs three assholes (well, maybe after Japanese buffets). What I'm saying is D-Wade's knees are dickheads. Well, not literally, but -- oh forget it; you get the point. Dwyane Wade's knees have turned Wade from Flash to Fap at times. The easiest route to back-to-back titles is obviously Wade at his best Euro-stepping the tits off these Euro fools so hard they go back to Euro places with their Euro tails between their Euro legs -- THAT'S amore. Wait, are any of them Italian? Whatever.
Chances are we won't get the Euro-hot-stepper back at 100 percent, but we can hope we get the Wade from Game Seven versus Indiana. That'll do just fine. What might be just as important is Wade staying Wade on defense. He is possibly the best shot-blocking guard in the history of the NBA, but at times against the Pacers he was the best cock-blocking guard in the history of the NBA -- blue-ballsin' Heat fans everywhere with his asshole-knee-injury-plagued defense. When D-Wade is active on defense, the Heat is an elite defensive team. When he's slow getting back after helping on a double team, the Heat usually get the business end of an opponent's open three. Nobody needs Red Mamba threes in his life, because Red Mamba is a thing nobody has any available patience-fucks set aside for -- we've used them all up waiting for Shane Battier's three-point shot to come around. I repeat: We are bankrupt of patience-fucks.
The Heat needs Wade -- that's all it comes down to. This team wasn't put together with him being a complementary piece in mind. A third championship makes him the greatest athlete in the history of South Florida sports. Yeah, I said it. I have a feeling the apology line starts at Bongos sometime in mid-June.
Chris Bosh vs. Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh is confusing. One minute he doesn't want to be a center; the next minute he is demanding the ball in the post -- it's ridiculous at times. How can you not be frustrated with a max-contract guy who tweaks his ankle on the opening tip of a game and then proceeds to attempt to rebound the basketball for three games via sign language and email. I'll tell you why, because we REALLY like him. He's a good dude. Good dudes are fine and dandy when LeBron is jumping out of the standing-room-only level to dunk back your misses; they're less tolerable when the team loses.
Bosh has a better matchup this series, which sounds ridiculous because he might be going up against the best power forward of all time in Tim Duncan. Fact of the matter is that Duncan's game is more defendable for Bosh, and on the offensive end he won't be shooting the ball into a ceiling made up of Roy Hibbert. Duncan is great, but Bosh can take him. Hibbert completely outmuscled Bosh and, in his words, he was being "embarrassed." Bosh shot 3-13 in Game Seven versus the Pacers, but it felt like he had a good game because he was active and aggressive -- the Heat needs that Bosh in these finals. It's apparent Bosh is a streaky shooter. Once he makes a jumper, five more usually follow along with confidence and purpose on defense. When he misses three straight jumpers, you can almost see the testosterone drop to the floor like his water broke.
The people demand confident, aggressive Boshy Q. Bear, because we don't want to say bad things about Boshua -- we really like him!
Ray Allen Against a Shooting Slump
When Ray Allen is making three-point baskets with regularity, the Miami Heat is unstoppable -- that's just the facts. As you saw in Game Seven, once Allen got hot, the game went from "My ass cheeks could make one of those souvenir stamped pennies" to "Hey look, Duck Dynasty is on!" It takes only a spurt of his awesome sauce to make the game go checkmate because the other team is terrified of him the rest of the night and that leaves the lane open for LeBron. LeBron needs only that split second to drive to the basket so fast that Keyshawn Johnson chases him in his Prius.
Ray Allen shook Heat fans to their core his entire career, especially in Boston. He got the ball with a foot of space -- you factored in those three points before he even shot the ball -- terrifying. Flip that on the other team now, remember what that felt like, and now imagine having to worry about everything else the Heat has on the floor -- brown pants next stop Brownville. If Ray Allen has a good series, go ahead and fill up that Super-Soaker with tequila, because the parade is going down at Bayside.
Heat in six.
Back-to-back bitches. I predict the Heat will close it out on the home court in Game Six, with the Spurs stealing one of the first two in Miami and the series coming back to Miami with the Heat up 3-2. I've got LeBron having a monster series and winning finals MVP for the second consecutive year as well. I predict Dwyane Wade will do what Dwyane Wade does when his back is against the wall -- serve the doubters a mouthful of their own foot. I predict an extremely competitive series, one that will be the best of the three consecutive finals in which the Heat's Big Three have appeared. I predict there will again be days of doubt. I predict there will again be those who count the Heat out and speculate on the future of the franchise. I predict the Miami Heat will do what it does best in the playoffs: get to four wins by any means necessary before the opponent.
Burn the Boats.
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Follow me @RizzWrites for tweets during the game.