Tahlequah Daily Press


June 22, 2012

Kolby Paxton's Thunder Wrap-up


1. Something special was going to happen

As an admittedly biased supporter of the Thunder, I should have been nervous during pre-game introductions. I wasn’t. That’s because, as a fan of basketball, I was too giddy to be nervous. Something special was about to happen, one way or the other.

Durant, Westbrook, and the Thunder were going to spoil the Miami championship party, send the series back to Oklahoma City and, in doing so, open up the very real possibility of a Boston Red Sox-esque comeback.

If not, LeBron James was going to win the most critically anticipated ring in the history of the NBA. The Miami Heatles trio would conquer the darlings of the league and win not six, not five, not four, not three, not two, but one championship.

Either way, the narrative in the aftermath of Game 5 would be incredibly intruiging.

2. Unfortunately for OKC…

Despite trailing by single digits for the majority of the first half, the outcome never seemed as if it was in question. Westbrook was off. Harden never showed up. Derek Fisher was firing up shots as if he were a viable scoring option; as if he was the 32-year old version of Derek Fisher. But the number on his jersey — and the outcome of those ill-fated jumpers — reminded otherwise.

The entire process seemed like a drawn out, mostly unnecessary coronation process for Miami. The home team shot 54 percent from behind the arc in the first half — including four 3-point buckets by the guy who used to be Mike Miller.

Somehow, the Heat were even hotter in the second half, when it seemed as if they literally could not miss. Miller, Chalmers, Battier and, if I’m not mistaken, even Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, buried 3 after 3 en route to blowing the game wide open by the end of the third quarter.

Chalmers knew it, as he waved to the ecstatic, white-clad occupants of the American Airlines Center. Lebron James didn’t care. “Not yet,” he said. “Play ball.”

Say what you want about The Decision and the narcissism that accompanied it. Say what you want about James’ ill-fated attempt at playing the villain last year. He’s past that. He is finally the player that he was expected to be.

Lebron and the Heat deserved this one. They wanted it more.

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