“Pressure can burst a pipe or pressure can make a diamond”
– Robert Horry
As drama critics are looking for work, NBA writers are writing odes to Dirk and Derrick. How could you not become poetic after each game 1? With a Western Conference Finals pitting two 22 year old superstars against a bunch of rapidly aging veterans with a 7 foot shooter who all of the sudden realized somebody had to be Playoff Kobe when Kobe isn’t around, who wouldn’t watch with a box of tissues and a bottle of Jameson next to them? I personally prefer a glass of red for every home team basket and a glass of white for every away team basket, but details at this point are trivial.
So why do I keep looking at Miami and Oklahoma City like they’re not ready for the stage? The Heat will not win a championship with two guys that aren’t playing to absolute perfection. Apparently there are three other guys that are supposed to do something on the court as well, but in Miami the other three, save for Bosh occasionally showing up when there is no hope, do not seem to share the same desire to win.
Remember the Lakers? Didn’t have the desire to win. Got comfortable. The Heat are going through the same thing, except they have rested on the fact that almost all NBA writers watched the 2nd round series against the Celtics and pretty much wrote off the Bulls. The Celtics were running on pure fumes, there would have been nothing left against the Bulls, it would have been an all out thrashing. The whole team would have broken down, resulting in Delonte West and Jeff Green becoming starters by game 4.
The Thunder however, seem to be on the verge of becoming a great team, but due to mid season trades, things have become a little strange. Yes, they had enough to finally put away the Grizzlies, but the pressure only gets higher, and every missed basket is like a last second shot attempt. Athleticism will not win championships. Ask Lebron. They have to get smarter, they have to be more efficient, and can’t turn over the ball on these insane, free for all fast breaks that seem like a last ditch effort to simply outrun the opposing team. Speed kills indiscriminately. Westbrook getting stuffed results in one less man on the defensive end when the Mavs start that insane shooting parade.
There will be enough swing between games one and seven to bring back the 70s. Ordinary sports writers will become schizophrenic and watch every game with split personalities. Old vs young. Good vs. Evil. All sides will reign at some point.