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Is King James finally going to get his crown??
Allusions to heavyweight boxing and prizefights are all around the Heat in these NBA Finals, and all of them seemed more fitting than ever as midnight neared Tuesday and Miami stood bruised, exhausted but tall over a staggered opponent.
Coach Erik Spoelstra, a huge boxing fan, especially of Manny Pacquiao, spoke before Game 4 of “throwing our best punches” and afterward of “getting knocked down” only to rise again. Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade do a pantomime before games, after introductions and just before taking the floor, feigning punches at one another.
Well, this was a championship fight and it felt like all the punches that mattered landed Tuesday night for the Heat — the team that keeps getting back up.
It was the Oklahoma City Thunder on the canvas when it ended, not knocked out — not quite — but surely being counted out now.
The Heat’s 104-98 triumph fashioned a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven series after a third straight Finals victory by Miami, and NBA history suggests this thing is effectively over now, even if neither team would ever say it.
A team leading by 3-1 in the Finals has never failed to win the championship. Not once. Meaning Miami is either poised to celebrate its second franchise championship, perhaps as soon as Game 5 right back here Thursday night, or at risk of historic ignominy — depending on one’s degree of optimism and faith.
Sure looks like the end could be near for the the boys in OKC, game 5 is Thursday night live from South Beach at 9pm.
Hit the flip side to peep last nights press conference fashions, especially Dwyane
Images via AP