After non-stop theatrics that rivaled a Hollywood blockbuster, we all knew Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals—which served as the sequel—would have to be bigger and better. Maybe something with a tagline like ‘This time it’s personal’. Things got personal all right, but for LeBron James it was just about handling business.
With 35 points and 10 rebounds James put his stamp all over the rematch like we knew he would. After all it was the King’s toughness and ‘brand’ that were questioned when he left the opener with leg cramps. The big payback was classic LeBron. Step-back jumpers, ridiculous contested threes and the willingness to push the tempo. This was LeBron at his best.
“This was a big-time road win,” James said after the Miami Heat ran off the court following the win. “I just try to make plays out there on the floor, and put my teammates in a position to succeed,” James added at the post-game conference. LeBron definitely put his team in a position to help, even when they refused to.
The Heat found themselves unraveling with James bearing all of the load. Mario Chalmers—the court jester—managed to make another bone-head move as he elbowed Tony Parker on a drive to the basket. Chalmers finished the game with more fouls [five] than points [three].
When it seemed like the supporting cast would throw in the towel, the King’s court made it happen when it mattered most. Chris Bosh nailed an uncontested three-pointer that put the Heat up for good late in the fourth quarter. Bosh followed that clutch shot with an assist to Dwayne Wade for a layup which quickly prompted a timeout from Gregg Popovich.
So far the rematch has followed the same script from last year with Miami taking Game 2. In last years matchup the San Antonio Spurs took game three with a blowout win. But don’t expect Miami to lay down, the Heat have now gone 46 consecutive playoff games without consecutive losses. That’s pretty tough to beat.
That means if the Spurs want a blowout or even a huge road win they’ll need Parker to continue his mastery of the offense. Tim Duncan will have to rein in his—gasp—outspokenness and put up big time ‘Timmay’ numbers. And Manu Ginobili, who looked five steps too slow on both ends, will have to discover the fountain of youth.
Whatever happens in this series, the viewers and writers will be the better for it because what we’re witnessing is a series that seems like it will have plenty of twists with one heck of an ending. Game 3 certainly can’t come soon enough.