It's a day most New York Knick fans have dreaded.
In Game Six of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals, with the Miami Heat facing elimination in hostile Boston Garden territory, Lebron James finally evoked the ghosts of past champions with a dominating performance that could not have been overcome.
It is the ultimate test of champions, after all. As a viewer, it's the inexorable feeling of inevitability that someone great simply will not allow his team to lose. It's a signature moment for Lebron, who has been excessively criticized for generating precious few big moments in the biggest spots. Of course, the Miami Heat needs to finish off the Boston Celtics in Game Seven down in South Beach before the accolades are official. Given the overall record of road teams in the NBA historically, and especially in deciding games, it's safe to proclaim you can take the night off from the NBA playoffs when Game Seven rolls around. A movie might be a nice idea, or perhaps a baseball game. There's no way the Heat will lose a seventh game to the Boston Celtics in their own arena, particularly since Lebron has seemingly dislodged the monkey from his back.
How could the Celtics get drubbed so unceremoniously at home in a game that would have delivered them a ticket to the Finals? Especially after slaying the dragon in Miami a couple of days earlier? Well, it's human nature to take somewhat for granted success before you've officially earned it - even for veteran players and teams. The sheer energy it must have taken to emerge victorious in Miami sapped the emotion from the fatigued Celtics. We all watched it happen in the first half in Oklahoma City the other night after an enormous Game Five road victory for the Thunder. They were down by 18 first half points, before they regained their emotional legs.
The Celtics might not have any of those left, after reaching down again and again for one more performance. You might see a gasping Celtic team receive a thumping in Game Seven - or perhaps they'll find a way to keep it close for a while. Either way, they can't kick themselves too hard because Lebron had a coming-out party at their expense.
If you're a Knick fan Heat Hater, enjoy your movie.
Glenn Vallach has been a basketball fan, player, and coach during his lifetime and, as such, an ardent follower of the NBA even with all its warts. He have also been a New York Knick fan since the days of Howie Komives and Walt Bellamy, when he regularly boarded the IRT Subway at 180th Street in the Bronx for a trip to the Garden to see his heroes.
- Yahoo! Sports New York Knicks page
- Yahoo! Sports Miami Heat page
- Yahoo! Sports Boston Celtics page
- Yahoo! Sports LeBron James page
- Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports, LeBron James stares down elimination, Celtics with Wilt Chamberlain-like performance