In the sports world, it doesn’t get much bigger than Game 7 of the NBA Finals. In terms of viewing numbers, tonight will probably trail only the Super Bowl. Everyone will be watching the Miami Heat host the San Antonio Spurs tonight with the NBA Championship on the line, and more specifically, everyone will be watching LeBron James.
LeBron James is probably the most scrutinized athlete in the history of sports. His every move is criticized. If he scores 40 points, grabs 10 rebounds, and dishes 10 assists, people say yeah, but he was 1-4 from the 3 point line. Tonight, in the biggest game of his life, with unimaginable pressure, James will try to lead the Heat to their second straight world championship. Many people are saying that his “legacy” and more specifically, his case against Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all-time, could be on the line tonight. In a way, it is. In a way, it isn’t. But one thing is for certain. If the Miami Heat lose tonight, it will be all LeBron James’ fault. At least that’s what everyone will make it out to be. If they win, it will be all because of him. Forget the stats, that’s how it is going to be viewed. It’s kind of like a quarterback in the NFL, they get all the credit, and all the blame, but with James’, it's worse. Much worse. Like it or not, right or wrong, tonight will have a massive impact on the legacy of LeBron James.
The game itself, is the hardest game I can ever remember trying to predict. Both of these teams have been so up and down, it's tough to predict which teams will come to play. Some think the Spurs can’t overcome their meltdown in Game 6 on Tuesday night and are too tired to carry on, which I think is nonsense. The Heat played seven games against Indiana, and have played seven more against the Spurs. The Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies, and had what seemed like an eternity off before facing the Heat. If anything, these teams are equally tired. I think the more telling storyline, is how poorly the Heat have played after wins, and how great the Spurs have played after losses.
Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili aren’t going to give up, or stop believing they can win just because they had a heartbreaking loss two nights ago. They’re champions, they don’t give in that easily. The Heat on the other hand, are champions as well, but they always seem to have this over confident swagger around them, especially after victories. It’s like they know they’re going to win, and then they don’t. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this was the result tonight, and in fact, that’s what I am predicting. Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili will all play well, and the Spurs will take home the gold tonight. That’s what my head says.
My heart says the complete opposite. Even as a diehard Heat fan, it is obvious that the Heat were lucky to win Game 6. They are lucky to be in Game 7, and I hope to see the LeBron James that was so aggressive and attacking every time he touched the ball. I’d like to think he can have another triple double, and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could combine for somewhere around 40 points. I just don’t know if they have it in them. I hope, but I don’t know. After what the Heat have shown me after their last seven wins (six straight losses), I have to pick the Spurs.