Last night, as I watched LeBron James put an exclamation point on a tremendous postseason campaign with a triple-double to help the Heat clinch the 2011-12 title, I couldn’t help but have a flashback.
Winning a championship is a tough enough task in itself, but blowing your opponent out of the water, all while you are in your home arena in a championship-clinching game, there’s nothing really that tops that in my estimation.
So naturally, as I witnessed what the Heat were doing to the Oklahoma City in Game 5, it fondly reminded me of a special occasion just four years earlier, Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
That night for Boston fans needs no introduction, but it was almost surreal how similar the two games were in a way. For the victors, it was an offensive explosion unlike any other, while OKC, like the Lakers were forced to tap out with minutes remaining in the season-ending contest as they had no real hope in slowing the deluge.
Mike Miller (7-OF-8 on 3PA) played the part of Ray Allen (7-of-9 on 3PA), Russell Westbrook (4-of-20) was Kobe Bryant (7-of-22) and Erik Spoelstra even got a rarely-seen Doc Rivers Gatorade bath on the hardwood.
Kudos is deserved in every which way to the Heat this morning, who earned the title fair and square and did it in a way that should shut up a lot of their critics for at least the next few months. The Celtics can take pride in the knowledge that despite being shorthanded, they gave the Heat easily their toughest series of the postseason, pushing them to seven games like no other team could. Unfortunately for Boston, Miami had another gear when it counted that the C’s and the rest of the league lacked.
However, on this day in late June, Celtics fans can take solace in the fact that despite the impressiveness of the Heat’s win last night, it still doesn’t come close to the effort Boston put together in Game 6 in 2008. 131 points, a 39-point margin of victory, leading by as many as 45(!) points in the fourth quarter, a much better executed Gatorade bath (see above) by Paul Pierce compared to the unsurprising one (from the front?) Udonis Haslem gave Coach Spo last night. Haslem should know you have to at least to try to sneak up on the guy from behind! Completely unacceptable! I digress.
Every few months I make a point of trying to watch some nearly flawless basketball, just for fun. There are a few options to choose from in NBA lore, but there’s really nothing that tops Game 6 of 2008 in my mind out of games with so much on the line. Miami has now joined that club, but the Celtics still remain at the top of it, when it comes to clinching a title in style.