Congrats to LeBron and the Cavs, who did the improbable and surged back from an 0-2 series deficit to win four straight games to vanquish the Pistons for the NBA Eastern Conference title.
Usually, I'm a big fan of the "title or bust" mentality: That if a team doesn't win the league championship, the secondary prizes of conference or division titles is hardly notable. Except in the cases where expectations are smashed in such a distinctive way, as they have been here.
The Cavs have achieved their title. I heard one analyst questioning whether Cleveland was celebrating too soon, with a Finals meeting against the dynastic Spurs still to come. Too soon? Hardly.
LeBron is 22, and he has just carried his team to the NBA Finals, the greatest milestone yet in his brief yet brilliant career. (Watch for an avalanche of comparisons between how quickly -- and relatively easily -- LeBron dispatched Detroit out of his way as compared to Michael Jordan's Bulls.)
Obviously, an NBA title would eclipse what the Cavs have just done. But even if they don't beat the Spurs, the Cavs have advanced another step forward in the LeBron Era, the hugest step yet. The fans can -- and should -- be satisfied with where they are now. Please: Enjoy it.
Meanwhile, for the Pistons, a second straight season without a conference championship could be the final signal of the end of the team's reign. The rest of the conference has obviously caught up. Chauncey Billups is a free agent. Can a team built around Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince be a conference heavyweight?
Meanwhile, add Daniel Gibson to the short list (Deron Williams) of players in these NBA Playoffs who have vaulted their status and stock. Who had "31 points" in the office pool for the series-clinching Game 6? Considering Gibson was a second-round pick deemed fit as neither a point guard or a shooting guard, he has to make GMs reconsider their appraisals.
The biggest winner in the NBA Finals? ABC and ESPN, which gets to pit the otherwise unlikeable dynasty team of the decade against the league's most marketable individual star. That sure beats the Spurs-Pistons dud it looked like it was going to be a week ago.