Tuesday, June 04, 2013

6/4 (Heat-Spurs) Quickie

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.

-- D.S.

Monday, June 03, 2013

6/3 (Heat-Pacers Game 7) Quickie

Tonight doesn't qualify as a toss-up: The Heat will probably win.

Regardless of the sorry state of the full "Big Three," they still have LeBron. They have the result of Game 5. They have Chris Andersen back (and, in the effective absence of Wade and Bosh, that's a not insubstantial X-factor). They have home-court advantage. They have what I would qualify as a slight mental edge, even as confident as the Pacers might seem to be (or have reason to be).

That said, the only question for me today is: What if Miami loses?

It's kind of incredible: LeBron's superlative season would be a failure. The era of the Big Three would be effectively over. Instead of an epic Heat-Spurs, we get... well, not Heat-Spurs.

Every single bit of pressure is on the Heat. Will they fall short?

If they do, it is way more interesting than if they win.

-- D.S.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

6/2 (Grant Hill) Quickie

Happy retirement to Grant Hill. We 40-year-olds have to stick together.

(Can't wait for Heat-Pacers Game 7 on Monday night. Wow.)

-- D.S.