|Photo: Getty Images - Mike Ehrmann|
It took seven games -- but for the second consecutive year, LeBron James and the Miami Heat are headed to the NBA Finals.
As expected from the MVP, James displayed a dominating performance en-route to finishing off the Boston Celtics. But it would be improper to not mention the stunning play of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh -- both of which dazzled in Game Seven in ways that surprised even the most well-versed NBA fans.
And despite the unbelievable play of Rajon Rondo, the sudden emergence of Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett playing like he was 25, the Heat managed to bust-up a tough and dedicated Celtics squad.
In fact, I was so impressed with how this Boston team was playing earlier in the series, I wrote a piece titled: The Reality of the Boston Celtics (which can be found here).
It was a post that reflected my true feelings towards the Celtics, and now, I feel compelled to do the very same for James and the Heat. Consider this a rebuttal to my own opinions, or take it as many will -- a preemptive breakdown of what has, and will happen moving forward.
When Boston rallied back against the Heat, and put James one game away from elimination -- there was one thought running through my head -- this is good. It's not that I wanted to see James fail (it's quite the contrary), but it was that it was the position he had to be in.
Was it the plan along? No.
But, it unleashed what we had all been waiting for -- the real LeBron James.
Sure, he has played unbelievably well this postseason. He carried the team on his back through multiple games, and when it was crunch time -- he mostly delivered.
However, during games one through five against Boston, James wasn't doing it. He put up all the numbers, and his stat-line caused even the top players in the NBA to be envious, but there's a reason why Boston was able to bounce-back and even take the series lead -- LBJ wasn't taking over.
There was something about being in that elimination spot that pushed James to the next level -- and that's what I was waiting on. LeBron dominated -- beyond dominated -- in every aspect of the game.
Offense - check.
Defense - check.
Leadership - check.
Emotion - check.
Clutch - check.
The delicate balance that had been in place with Wade and he was out -- and LBJ went back to Cleveland. It was as if he was playing every position on the floor and making all the right moves at the right times.
It was the real LeBron James.
Forget LeBrick, LeChoke, LeFraud. Forget it.
That's not what we watched in those last two games against the Celtics. We watched a player that is ready to take that next step towards greatness, with the past far behind, regardless of who or what is in the future.
James is a series away from obtaining the most elusive thing he has ever dealt with in his career. He proved against the Celtics that this is not last year, it's not the year before that and it isn't going to be a repeat of past performances.
That's the reality of LeBron James.
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