Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 9:08 AM
Hey, he got his title ... so good for 17-year NBA vet Juwan Howard.
Ohhh, and good for LeBron James too!
"The King"did his stat-sheet stuffing best last night with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in that rocking-chair 121-106 series-clinching and championship-clinching win against the heartless Oklahoma City Thunder as this year's NBA Finals finished with a whimper - no close calls late, no last-minute fouls to analyze. None of that.
It was the sort of coronation the front-running city of Miami wanted and they got it as James called it the "happiest day of my life"and he sure looked joyful while dancing away the final couple of minutes of a game that should have been halted with someone throwing in a white towel.
You know the deal: No sense examining that carnage except to say Miami's Mike Miller - who scored 23 points on 7-of-8 three-point shooting - may be the most popular athlete in a town that's chock-filled with folks wearing bandages all over their legs.
It was Miller time in Game 5 of these NBA Finals as he spotted up and sank jumper after jumper -- bad back and all - and so the so-called "Big Three"of James, Dwyane Wade (20 points) and Chris Bosh (24 points) has delivered the first of what they said would be multiple championships ... three cheers for them but is this really the start of an NBA dynasty down in South Beach?
Knee jerk reaction is to believe that James has plenty more titles in his bag and Bosh is your quintessential "third scorer"who turned out to be a pretty dang good rebounder in this series but you gotta have questions regarding Wade's bumpy knees and that supporting cast that was MIA for much of the shortened 2011-12 season and right into the playoffs still has lots more questions than answers and so ask us right here and right now and we'd say the Heat probably will win a couple more titles in the next four or five years.
They just won't be reminding anyone of the 1990s Chicago Bulls ... alright?
The main storylines coming out of this NBA Finals aside from the titanic James saga is that Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra did have the "last laugh"and so did GM Pat Riley (although we could have done without Riley basically hijacking the post-game celebration) but we also learned some things about Okie City and they were not necessarily good things:
The Thunder absolutely quit on Game 5 and that's a bad reflection on head coach Scott Brooks who deserved - at best - a "D"grade for this series and please no more talk about how Okie City is a defensive team first - are you kidding us, coach?
Next, we discovered that being young and immature is one thing but for James Harden (see back-to-back 2-of-10 FG games in Games 3 and 4) and than Russell Westbrook (see 4-of-20 FGs in Game 5 alone) to sink their team when they were needed the most shows that these chaps have a ways to go before being considered championship-caliber players;
Finally, maybe this is - as Brooks told ABC's Doris Burke in the post-game sadness - a "process"that many NBA teams go through.
Hey, the Heat became the 11th NBA team to win a title one year after getting beaten in an NBA Finals and so nobody should be shocked if Okie City wins it all next June but the Thunder better get its minds right this summer and better think about getting a bruiser along the front line 'cause Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins were awful in this series.
And remember Oklahoma City was nearly a two-to-one betting favorite (actually - 175-to-$100) in this NBA Finals series. Yup, hard to believe right around now.
Here's how the Thunder-Heat NBA Finals Series went down in just 5 games (note all home teams are in CAPS):
|6-12||OKLAHOMA CITY||- 5||Miami||OKLAHOMA CITY 105-94|
|6-14||OKLAHOMA CITY||- 5.5||Miami||Miami 100-96|
|6-17||MIAMI||- 4||Oklahoma City||MIAMI 91-85|
|6-19||MIAMI||- 3||Oklahoma City||MIAMI 104-98|
|6-21||MIAMI||- 3.5||Oklahoma City||MIAMI 121-106|
NBA PLAYOFF FINAL POINTSPREAD STANDINGS
THE PAST 10 NBA CHAMPIONS
Here's now the updated list of the past 10 NBA champions with whom they beat along with the NBA Finals MVP:
|2012||MIAMI HEAT||Okla City Thunder||4-1||LeBron James|
|2011||Dallas Mavericks||Miami Heat||4-2||Dirk Nowitzki|
|2010||LA Lakers||Boston Celtics||4-3||Kobe Bryant|
|2009||LA Lakers||Orlando Magic||4-1||Kobe Bryant|
|2008||Boston Celtics||LA Lakers||4-2||Paul Pierce|
|2007||San Antonio Spurs||Cleveland Cavaliers||4-0||Tony Parker|
|2006||MIAMI HEAT||Dallas Mavericks||4-2||Dwayne Wade|
|2005||San Antonio Spurs||Detroit Pistons||4-3||Tim Duncan|
|2004||Detroit Pistons||LA Lakers||4-1||Chauncey Billups|
|2003||San Antonio Spurs||New Jersey Nets||4-2||Tim Duncan|
MORE NBA DRAFT NOTES
The NBA Draft is slated for Thursday night in Newark and so let's take a few moments to examine what we see as the dozen players to be picked with a reminder that we'll have our Jim Sez NBA Mock Draft set for Wednesday, June 27th, so don't miss out!
1 - Anthony Davis, F, Kentucky - The slam-shut top pick who will be headed to New Orleans may wind up being a 20-point scorer in the pros quicker than you think!
2 - Bradley Beal, G, Florida - Uber-talented frosh two-guard is cat-quick but note he shot just 33 percent from trey-land last year. Needs work to become a 3-ball star in the NBA.
3 - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Kentucky - Well-rounded game means he'll be more-than-occasional double-doubles on this next level and some folks slot 'em right beneath Davis at #2.
4 - Harrison Barnes, F, North Carolina - Sweet-stroking star may need to develop a mean streak to be a star in the NBA. He gets more silent 20-point games than anyone in recent memory.
5 - Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut - Far from a polished product, this one-and-done guy at UConn is considered a major project and could slide a few spots on Draft Night.
6 - Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas - No one works any harder than this 6-foot-8 strongman but he doesn't score much outside five feet and showed fatigue issues in recent NCAA Tournament.
7 - Austin Rivers, PG, Duke - Ask us and we'll tell you he shoots too much for a lead-guard but great athletic abilities and he puts pressure on enemy defenses all game long.
8 - Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State - His well-documented back problems as brought to light by NBA doctors has his stock dropping but we don't believe he'll fall out of lottery slots.
9 - Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse - This former Orange sixth man isn't shy about shooting it and could be a great fit with a team that plays a selfless point guard.
10 - Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois - Here's a 7-foot-1 behemoth that scored lots of in-close hoops last year (see 58.4 percent) but will he be a force against more athletic front-court guys?
11 - Jeremy Lamb, G, Connecticut - If it was up to us, we'd nab Lamb inside the top six picks as smooth stroke and ice-water-in-veins approach are major plus factors on next level.
12 - Perry Jones III, F, Baylor - Gotta admit this dude disappeared for stretches in NCAA Tourney games and might scare off some NBA folks who believe he's a mere 25-minute-per-game guy
THE BASEBALL WEEKEND REPORT
It's the final weekend of MLB Interleague play and so let's grab a quick-hitter look at three key series:
NEW YORK YANKEES (41-27) at NEW YORK METS (38-32)
Just two weekends ago the Yankees stomped on the Mets in straight sets -- 9-1, 4-2 and 5-4 - but Mets fans believe this weekend's outcome at Citi Field will be different now that late-blooming superstar knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (11-1) is getting a start in the Sunday Night game. Dickey missed that last Subway series while co-ace Johan Santana was battered around for a quartet of Yankees home runs (including a pair of first-pitch HRs by 2B Robinson Cano) - remember the Bombers swatted eight dingers in that three-game sweep - and now the key is Mets' hurlers keeping NYY in the ball park in more spacious Citi Field. One key to whom wins this weekend's series in Gotham City: Late-game pinch-hit situations will be key for the Mets who figure to have Lucas Duda (11 HRs) coming off the bench in the games started by Yankee lefthanders Andy Pettitte (tonight) and CC Sabathia (Sunday).
ST. LOUIS (35-35) at KANSAS CITY (31-36)
As long as we're bringing up same-season revenge spots, how 'bout the fact the KayCee Royals snagged two-of-three wins in St. Louis last weekend including that wild 5-3 triumph in 15 innings on Father's Day? The Royals are just 11-20 at home this year (don't ask why!) but if DH Billy Butler (.299 BA, 13 HR and 41 RBI) can keep his anger in check and take out his angst on Cardinals pitchers than Ned Yost's guys might win back-to-back series against their "Show Me State"rivals. Did you know the sputtering Cardinals rank 11th in the National League team ERA right now (3.87). Where's Dave Duncan when you need 'em?
LOS ANGELES DODGERS (42-28) at LOS ANGELES ANGELS (38-32)
The Halos snapped up two-of-three wins at Dodger Stadium a couple of weeks back when a grand total of 15 runs were scored in that three-game set - and now the home folks look to keep the Dodgers down here after Don Mattingly's club was just swept in Oakland ... ugh! Note that the Dodgers managed just a run on three hits in yesterday's 4-1 walk-off win by the A's as Dee Gordon, Andre Ethier and Tony Gwynn Jr. went a combined 0-for-10 ... double-ugh! If the Angels have reason to smile maybe it's because OF Mark Trumbo has 22 RBI in the month of June and he's hitting a robust .341 in his past 23 games.
NOTE: Catch our Baseball Reports all weekend long here at Jim Sez.