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Heat-Celtics Game 7 Preview: The thing about chaos is it’s fair

Jun 9, 2012, 2:30 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Six Getty Images

You want to know the truth about this game, the hidden, ugly, “no one will talk about it because it’s like running a news report on the Disney Channel about how Santa isn’t real” truth?

Game 7 between the Heat and the Celtics? All that drama, all the impact on legacies and careers and the huge mega-importance of this game?

It’s a coin flip. Game 7 is nothing but a coin flip.

In reality, Game 6 was as well. These two have battled to the marrow throughout this series. All that talk bout officiating and conspiracies and clutch? That’s a result of two evenly matched teams going down to the wire in nearly every game. The gap in point differential, after the Heat blew the Celtics out of the water in Game 6? 1.7. That’s it. The two teams are separated after six games by less than a bucket. There is no better team. And we hate that.

We abhor the idea of the better team not advancing. It strikes a chord in us that fires off our cognitive dissonance alarms like nothing else. The better team has to win. But what if there isn’t one?

Boston’s offense has overperformed in this series. You can talk about clutch players and experience and rising to the occasion all you want. I think there are times when those cliches hold true. This is not one of them. They’re facing a dominant defense in its own right, and to be honest, they take a lot of pretty terrible shots. I don’t care what’s in your guts or between your legs, you’re not going to hit contested pull-up jumpers at a high rate, especially not from mid-range, and especially not against a defense as good as this one. But here it is. And there are concrete reasons that go beyond luck. Rajon Rondo‘s singular brilliance. That play where he tip-passed it to Mickael Pietrus is a great example. But think about what had to happen there. Wade has to block Bass just right. Not so hard that it flies over Rondo’s head, not soft so that a Heat player collects it. He has to tap that ball just right, and that’s on Rondo and his brilliance. But he has to get it just over James also reaching. Pietrus has to have the wherewithal to stand in the corner and be ready for the catch, Mickael Pietrus being known for his heady play and stable mind on the court, and then has to knock down a massive shot. This is part glory of championship teams, and part ridiculousness of chaos. Anyone breathes different on that court and the entire story changes.

Think I’m just bagging on the Celtics? Try this. Miami? Just as much of an outlier. LeBron James has an off-balance jumper. He just does. George Karl has talked about it. David Thorpe at ESPN has talked about it. Coaches and scouts and experts have talked about it. He doesn’t trust his jumper, but he feels the need to go to it. If Michael Jordan never existed, LeBron James is the best player, ever. I firmly believe that, and not because he’s No.2 behind Jordan. He’s not. But having grown up and watched Jordan like so many kids of his generation, the push-off on Russell, the shot over Ehlo, he learned the same thing. You win games by hitting big jumpers. This, from a 6-8, 280 lb. hulking monster of unstoppable force is insane. But it’s what he is. And in Game 6? Every outlier came home to roost. Does that take away from his ability or the magnificence of that game? Absolutely not. Hitting those shots takes a phenomenal amount of concentration, just like Pietrus’. It takes the ability to create those shots in the first place. It takes resolve and determination and God-given ability, all of which James showed in an absolutely brilliant performance from stop to finish.

It’s also not bloody likely to happen again. Can it? Sure. Will it? Again, it’s not probable.

What does this tell us about Game 7? It sets up the same things we knew before. It comes down to who makes shots. Sounds simple, right? But that’s not what a series is about. It’s about adjustments and counter-adjustments and effort and preparation and more than anything talent and execution. But Game 7’s are about who has it that night. The Lakers had it in 2010. The Spurs had it in 2008. The Celtics had it vs. Philadelphia, the Clippers vs. the Grizzlies, the Lakers vs. the Nuggets. It doesn’t always mean both teams are even. But one team will have the extra arc on the ball to tilt it in, the rims will forgive one team more than the other, and that will determine all of this. So much pressure, so many consequences, so many lives changed, and it all hinges on the wings of a butterfly, the temperature in the arena, the bead of sweat trickling down LeBron James’ forehead. Think about that when you compare it to your life’s biggest moments.

We’re all victims and subjects and participants in chaos, and in fate, and here’s really no place better to be.

These teams are incredibly evenly matched and the outcome does not determine who is the better team. They are both great teams. The Celtics can blow them out, the Heat can blow the Celtics out, it can be an overtime or triple-overtime or an ugly or beautiful game and it won’t change what we’ve learned. These teams are both worthy of the Finals. One goes, one goes home. That’s life. That’s chaos.

That’s fair.

  1. gmen4life33 - Jun 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    This article is all over the place.

    -Both teams even, so game 7 coin flip
    -Watching MJ has made LBJ a worse player because he fell in love with jumpers
    -Lebron probably wont hit his jumpers in game 7
    -Bostons Offense has overachieved
    -The Butterfly Effect (someone breathing diff can change everything) also applies to the basketball court


    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 9, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      The refs rigged this article to confuse everybody

  2. lakerade - Jun 9, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Whoa whoa whoa, take a deep breath there… No wait, don’t!

  3. paulhargis53 - Jun 9, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Boston by 9. Uncle Paul knows all.
    Shuure, uh huh huh.

  4. kinggw - Jun 9, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Can Moore be any more of a Boston homer? (No pun intended) Every article he writes attempts to downplay what the Heat have done. If I didnt know any better I would swear they were lucky to get out of the 1st round.

    There is no similarity between what happened with Pietrus and James’ performance in Game 6. James has averaged 34/11/4 this series. Bearing that in mind is 45/15/5 a huge outlier? I dont think so. Aside from a few threes and a couple of heat check jumpers, LBJ was taking shots from 15 feet and in. Some of those shots were difficult, most of them were regular mid range shots. I dont believe that James was fading away with the frequency that Moore suggests but I could be wrong. I know Moore likes the C’s, that doesnt mean he shouldnt be objective about their prospects.The bottom line is that it isnt 2008. Unless Wade and James fail to show up, its not happening for Boston tonight.

  5. paulhargis53 - Jun 9, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    You idiot. In that long diatribe, you called Moore a homer and then proceed to show your homerism. Your statement about Wade and Bron showing up, Jesus dude. Give a little credit to the Celtics…
    If titles are so important to those 2, it stands to reason that they would show up for EVERY ECF game! They did by the way, Celts were just better.
    Idiot fans like you just gall me. Was it an abberation the Celts took 3 in a row?

    You are clueless. If they show up…haha.
    Typical gomer that thinks the team they root for has never lost a game.
    The refs screwed ya, they beat themselves, a car was coming, they were on gool. What nonsense.

    Please quit using outlier also. It doesn’t fit the rest of your grammar and its painfully obvious you are trying to look smarter than you are.
    Bottom line? James will not have a game Luke Thursday again. Celtics will not miss as many shots as Thursday.
    It’s game 7. That’s Celtics territory

  6. bestcoastinfluence - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    I just want to watch a good game. A coin flip game means that we have evenly matched teams, so let’s hope it comes down to a buzzer beater.

  7. hpe0atd - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    What is the definition of point differential? Because I came up with something like 3.5 per game not 1.7.

  8. gmsingh - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    A) Matt’s been drinking too many Mountain Dews, and B) he has no argument for why the game won’t be fixed.

  9. lameasish - Jun 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Hey Paul you loser, keep talking…

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