The NBA championship could be decided tonight.
No, the Lakers aren’t involved. There are no crucial moments to fret over; no stomach churning lead up to this contest. Instead, it’s two teams – the Mavs and the Heat – that will take center stage while we all watch.
I know many have a desired outcome to this series. Many would prefer the Mavs walk away victorious and claim that elusive Larry O’Brien trophy. After all, this could be the last chance for long time greats like Dirk and Kidd (two of my favorite non Lakers) to reach the mountain top and denying them this triumph would be some sort of cruelty. Meanwhile a team of young, in their prime stars like those on the Heat will have plenty of other chances to win this thing.
The other angle, obviously, is the dislike that many have for the Heat. Folks didn’t like “the decision”, the celebration that came after, or the swagger that it spawned – including all the media missteps along the way.
Personally, those things never bothered me much as games are decided on the court and the team would have to prove that they were worthy when the ball was jumped at center court, regardless of what I (or anyone else) thought of them. Winning isn’t easy and they would learn that and either reach the pinnacle or fall short like many others do. So far they’ve done well for themselves in getting to this point, but they’ve again found what we’ve already known and said. Winning is, indeed, hard.
In any event, game 6 is here and I’ll be watching. For the great basketball, the extremely talented players, and the chance to see the joy of one team and the despair of the other. We’re at the point where a team can taste that championship and those moments are the ones that I enjoy the most, even if they don’t involve the team that I call my own.
I’ll also be watching because this could be the last basketball we see for some time. The league owners are set to lock out the players next month and we could be in for a long, bitter negotiation that puts some, most, or all of next season in jeopardy. All of this saddens and upsets me to no end, as I’m sure it does to many of you (especially if you’re checking in on a basketball blog on a late Sunday afternoon).
But tonight, I’ll be watching to see if one team can claim the trophy while the other fights for their basketball lives. This game means something to me, even without the Lakers participating. I hope it’s a good one. Though, from what we’ve seen so far these playoffs, my hopes probably aren’t needed.