Maybe the HEAT looked defeat in the face when officials brought out yellow tape to mark off the trophy presentation for the Spurs. They were headed to a win, thus ending the 2013 NBA Series Playoff. But then Ray Allen made a superb end-of-fourth-quarter 3-pointer. Swoosh!
At overtime, I stood in my living room, shouting at the television, just as those thousands attending the game in Miami roared to their feet. With a few miracle plays, a few favorable ref calls, and stunning endurance, the Miami HEAT won the game! The Spurs were upset; they were that close to ending the series. Two days off to recover, and the last game of the series begins again this Thursday night.
LeBron James is either magnificent, or I'm left wondering what happened. Why is he hesitating? And that's where the disgust comes in, for there's nothing so ugly as watching someone lose confidence. James said, in his post-game interview, “You put it all out there on the court. You give your best.” And that's OK.
Part of me knows that watching sports on TV is a little ridiculous. My hubby, Allen, pulled me in. He knows sports, the stats, the people, their histories. First it was football. Now basketball. We rooted for the HEAT all the way through the playoffs until this last series playoff. Allen shouted, "Boom!" every time the Spurs made a basket. That was aggravating since the Spurs were ahead through most of the game. It's a hard choice: both teams are very good. But there's only one LeBron, one Wade, and one Bird Man.
Last night's game was physical. More than a few players got rattled and hit the floor, on their own volition or shoved by someone from the opposing team. After a strong first quarter, the HEAT seemed to lose their poise; the announcers said the HEAT played with desperation. If they lost, the series was lost.
But there were moments of grace and beauty. That arc to pop the ball into the basket. Bird Man's grab at the net to close out an incoming ball, unsuccessful as it was, tipped in after his move by the opposition. Wade's fluid moves as he charged forward. LeBron's leadership at times faltered, but the HEAT never gave up.
By the end of the game and that sudden-death overtime, all their faces were marked by exhaustion. Who had the reserves? Who had the emotional and physical stamina to persevere? The HEAT.
I'm a fan.
Of course, I'm partial to Bird Man. He came in late, played the heavy, rebounded a few. He was fouled, but he didn't lose his temper. The outsider, the survivor, the one who will be counted on because he could count on no one else.
Anyone who has played sports knows someone wants the ball, the run, the goal. And will do anything to achieve that moment of grace and affirmation. That resounding "YES!" that echoes down the years. Last night, the HEAT had the drive, and the Spurs didn't.
I've got chocolate ice cream in the freezer for half-time, and I'm ready for Thursday night.
|LeBron James and The Miami HEAT, Finals 2013 (Source: the305.com)|