Here's the brutal (yet glorious!) thing about expectations for the Heat:
The Game 7 win over the Pacers was necessary, but not nearly sufficient, to consider their season a success.
In the end, the Heat -- exclusively -- are "NBA champs or fail."
Last night was something they had to do, but as I write for USA TODAY Sports today, it is meaningless if they lose the title to the Spurs.
I have written a lot about the core appeal of Florida fandom to me when I first had the opportunity 12 years ago: Crushing expectations.
After a lifetime of rooting for Northwestern (up to that point, "bowl eligibility or fail!") and the Wizards ("just don't lose your place in the draft order during the NBA Lottery!"), there was something so invigorating about rooting for a team where even a single loss can ruin a season.
I will be rooting for the Spurs, for a lot of reasons: I think the Heat
are more interesting when they lose epically. I love the idea of the
"Duncan Dynasty" extending beyond the Spurs' last title another
half-decade, truly one of the most remarkable runs in the history of the
NBA -- most uber-elite player can win multiple titles in a row. It
takes a truly unique situation to win five titles over 15 years.
If I was a Heat fan, if I was LeBron James, if I was a fan of the NBA... I wouldn't want it any other way than it is right now.