All great things take time, right? The Miami Heat didn’t exactly expect to win a championship in their first year with the ‘big three’ did they?
If you were to answer that question after watching footage of Miami’s celebration following ‘The Decision’ you would have thought they had already won the title in 2011.
That was not the case, however. In their first season with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh the Heat struggled at times during the regular season but ultimately found themselves in the NBA Finals taking on the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavericks were the underdog of course, but in the end knocked off Miami on their home court en route to an NBA Championship.
Following last night’s game seven win over the San Antonio Spurs, head coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about his thoughts on the series as a whole:
“We have as much respect for them (Spurs) as anybody in this league and that was the toughest series we’ve ever been in.”
It appears that Spoelstra may have forgotten about the 2011 NBA Finals where his Heat – and I hate to repeat myself – fell to the Mavericks on their home court in just six games.
James, however, remembers how much it stung to endure the loss which now, he says, makes their second title all the more sweet:
“To be able to put in the work that I’ve put in since I got out of the cave after that Dallas series and for it to pay off like this, it’s the ultimate.”
I understand the Heat are on cloud nine after winning a back-to-back championship and it is easy to give all the credit in the world to the Tim Duncan and company, but the truth of the matter is – that was not the toughest series they’ve ever played.
I would have a hard time believing that this year’s finals were tougher on them than their first appearance on the big stage when they lost on their home court. Is there an echo in the room?
Should Dirk Nowitzki and the members of that championship team feel disrespected? Well, again, it is easy for the Heat to be caught up in the moment. I don’t think the Mavericks should feel utterly forgotten about, but at the same time I think a fun-spirited response to Spoelstra’s comments from Nowitzki may be in order.