Tonight’s the night. Game 7, Eastern Conference Finals, between two great teams who hate each other. If Indiana wins, this will go down as one of the greatest playoff series of all time. But if Miami wins, as is expected, it’s just another stepping stone to their quest for dominance. With that in mind, I’m keeping a running diary tonight to effectively capture the overall feeling as the momentum swings back and forth, as well as to provide a physical memory of this game, as the ripple effects will likely be felt not only in the next few weeks, but the next few years. So without further ado, let the diary begin!
7:29- Surprisingly, it looks like Chuck is the best dressed tonight, going with a navy suit/vest combo. And Shaq skinned an alligator and made it into a jacket. Nice.
7:33- Tipoff. If Wade and Bosh show up, this is Miami’s game. But of they don’t…
7:35- Wade had a great layup opportunity, only for it to be prevented by Hibbert, and he eventually missed a porous shot after passing up the initial shot. Pretty much sums up the series!
7:37- Bosh hit that jumper, but quickly ran away after Roy took a step up. How does he not have a cool nickname yet? Something to do with emasculating Chris Bosh should be considered. The Boshsectomy? Sorry, I’m really bad at coming up with nicknames.
7:39- Indy’s being super careless with the ball, so naturally the Heat respond by carelessly throwing lobs 30 feet in the air for LeBron to catch cause you know he can do that.
7:44- Hibbert picks up his first foul on James. Gotta keep an eye on this.
7:46- Fear the Sword, the Cavs fan blog, just tweeted “I will not complain about officiating I will not complain about officiating I will not complain about officiating I will not complain about”
That is all.
7:48- Udonis Haslem has always looked like someone super glued a really gross Wooly Willy beard on his face. He just got an easy-tip because West and Hibbert are desperately trying to avoid a 2nd foul.
7:50- Underrated problem with the Pacers- TURNOVERS! Six so far, and the first quarter isn’t over. George and Stephenson handle the ball a lot and get stripped in the lane easily, and Miami’s aggressive bigs don’t make it any better.
7:53- I can’t WAIT for the gif of Bosh moving his tongue all weird after he just travelled.
7:55- Mike Miller just checked into a standing ovation from the Heat fans. Really wish I hadn’t already made a Wooly Willy joke, cause that seems just as fitting here.
7:57- Daaaaaaaayuuuum, Dwayne just looked like ‘06 Wade with that steal and dunk. And here’s that insane James putback dunk from earlier http://www.cbssports.com/nba/blog/eye-on-basketball/22346737/video-lebron-james-monster-putback-game-7-vs-pacers Meanwhile, Bosh is 1 for 8 from the field.
8:00- How is Indiana leading 21-19 with NINE first quarter turnovers?? Each starting Pacer has 2 turnovers except Stephenson, who has 1. Miami has 28 shot attempts and scored 19 points. That looks like a Carmelo Anthony box score. What a bizarre quarter.
8:01- Woaahhhh, TNT goes with Trapt’s “Headstrong” to play off into commercial. I didn’t know I was at a 2007 high school football game.
8:05- Craig Sager rocking the aquamarine suit tonight. Conservative choice. And Roy Hibbert just hit an 18 footer. If that becomes a thing, the Eastern Conference is gonna be sooo pissed.
8:08- Psycho T has checked into the game to guard LeBron. I trust Frank Vogel to do the right thing, but still…
8:09- Paul George just gave the ball to Mike Miller after he was double-teamed. If they want to win, the Pacers have to stop turning the ball over every other possession. <— serious in -depth analysis here
8:14- Miami is just too fas- WOAH, giant alley-oop from Cole to LeBron. He hit his head on the rim on his way down. 6 point Miami lead.
8:16- The Heat’s interior defense looks like the Pacers’ interior defense, just with a shitload more tattoos.
8:19- Hmmm… with Ian Mahinmi guarding him, Chris Bosh appears to be good again! I think there’s a correlation there… (hint, Roy Hibbert is better at basketball than Ian).
8:22- Miami took a 10 point lead on an 11-2 run with Paul and Roy on the bench. No way they sit the rest of the night. First Heat possession with them back on the court results in a shot clock violation.
8:25- Hibbert and West are getting hammered on the blocks with double-teams, but the Pacers keeping forcing it into them. They gotta make something else happen, but whenever they try, they turn it over.
8:26- Basketball protip- don’t leave Ray Allen open. Miami pushes the lead back to ten with 3 minutes left.
8:30- In non-Game 7 news, the great Jason Kidd retired today. More importantly, Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) tweeted the following; “With Kidd’s retirement, there are no more active players from the original NBA Jam video game.” My poor, poor childhood.
8:32- Miami is out Indiana-ing Indiana by controlling the pace of the game, playing great interior D, and getting offensive boards
8:33- Lance Stephenson should only ever shoot 3s with the shot clock expiring. And Hibbert just picked up his 3rd foul, one minute left in the half.
8:35- On that last possession, the Pacers didn’t get the ball inside the 3 point line until 6 seconds left on the shot clock, the Stephenson and Hill passed up open 3s. Very indicative of an overarching problem.
8:42- And now Green Day playing over the intercom?? Let’s get all mid 2000’s up in here!! I’m gonna watch Juno and listen to Daughtry!! Where’s my LeBron jersey?!
Well, at least it’s going into the half now. Miami’s up 52-37 thanks to LeBron getting to the line (8-8 FTs), Jesus Shuttleworth’s resurrection (that reference is for you, Cameron), Wade showing flashes of youth, and Indiana playing terrible offensive basketball. Since they’ve been so bad on that side of the ball, their defense has suffered as well. It also being Game 7 against the league’s best offense doesn’t make it any easier. Stamina also has to be a question going into half for the Pacers. How/can they respond to the 33-16 2nd quarter smackdown? Crazier things have happened, but it looks like the Heat are finally too much for them. They’ve at least done much better than last year, where they basically folded in 5 games.
9:01- Indiana with a perfect possession combining ball movement and not giving Miami the ball to give George Hill an open three. They should do that more often.
9:03- 14 seconds of Lance Stephenson consecutively dribbling has never gone well. Miami has also been capitalizing on the Pacers turnovers, starting about halfway through that second quarter
9:08- Bosh and Haslem are doing a phenomenal job on defense of finding the correct balance between double-teaming and attacking the glass.
9:11- That awkward moment when David West is your best shot creator… (to be fair, Danny Granger is injured and Paul George gets stripped every single time he drives).
9:14- Offensive rebound for Wade leads to a big And-1. The lead is back to 15, and the Big 3 are making a statement.
9:16- Wooooow, Miami’s been showing a little full-court pressure all game, but Chalmers and Bosh just trapped George Hill at their own free throw line.
9:22- This is slowly turning from a Game 7 to a statement game. All series long, the consensus perception has been that the Pacers are the tough team and that they want it more. Miami disagrees with that, and are finally showing it.
9:25- Indiana was a great 5-12 from three at the half, and have only attempted one so far this quarter, which was the George Hill jumper to start the half. Indiana just keeps pounding their head against the wall that is Miami’s interior defense tonight.
9:28- Just watch how hard the Heat are playing. Even Mike Miller. They don’t want to just win this game, they want to embarrass the Pacers.
9:34- Even though the possession resulted in a turnover, Dwayne Wade just had a monster offensive rebound between 3 Pacers. While I really, really dislike Wade, I really, really hope this is the player that shows up in the finals. Wow.
9:38- Twenty-one point lead heading into the 4th quarter. If Psycho T gets into the game, someone’s getting punched in the eye.
9:44- Does checking Gerald Green into the game count as waving the white flag?
9:48- Abysmal body language from the Pacers, and you can’t really blame them. They played an incredible series, and are being demoralized in the finale.
9:53- Aaaaaand Paul George’s season is over, he just fouled out. He struggled mightily this game, but he’s really shown that he has true star potential, not only as a defender, but on offense as well. He grew up before our very eyes these playoffs, and I cannot wait to watch what he does next year.
9:54- To answer my question ten minutes ago, yes it does count. Green just travelled.
9:57- Norris Cole drilled a 3. Still bitter this guy isn’t a Cav.
Congrats to the Pacers for a great series. Now we get the pleasure of once again watching the best player in the world on one of the greatest stages. For the first time since I began watching basketball I might actually be rooting for the Sputs. Either way, June 6th can’t get here soon enough!