LeBron James is surrounded by Boston Celtics as he drives to the basket during the second half of Game 4. (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
LeBron James and Dwayne Wade say it was the Boston Celtics' Big Three that inspired them to ban together last summer with Chris Bosh to form their own superpower team in Miami.
Now as luck would have it, the Heat are on the verge of bouncing the Celtics, the defending Eastern Conference champions, from the playoffs Wednesday night in Game 5 of the conference semifinals matchup. Furthermore, the Heat’s dominance (leading the series 3-1) over the still powerful Celtics seems a clear sign Miami is now the odds-on favorite to win the NBA championship.
Though there were moments this season when this summit of superstar talent seemed all wrong, James and Wade’s vision seems to be coming into focus. The Heat didn’t seem to be the best team in the NBA coming into the playoffs. But that opinion has changed dramatically during the first two rounds of the playoffs, with Bosh, Wade and James seeming very much in synch, while coach Erik Spoelstra has pushed all the right buttons with the supporting cast.
As long as the Heat continues playing the way it has in this series, especially during Monday night’s 98–90 overtime win, then Wednesday night’s close-out game at American Airlines should be just a formality. Honestly, the rest of the playoffs should be much the same whether the Atlanta Hawks or Chicago Bulls reach the Eastern Conference Finals. This also applies to the three possible teams in the West that could come up against Miami in the NBA Finals.
Most didn’t want to see Miami ascend to NBA title, and certainly not this soon. James drew the ire of basketball fans in Cleveland, Chicago and New York last summer when he decided to take his talents to South Beach to join Wade and Bosh rather than make his own mark. But the King and his tarnished crown appear on the verge of doing what he could never get done by himself in Cleveland.
Now the question is whether or not the Heat will be able to develop a dynasty and have the type of success Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have enjoyed since joining forces in Boston. Time and, perhaps, this year’s playoffs will tell.