It’s officially “No Country For Old Men.” Talent kept Miami in it for 44 minutes. But intensity won it for them in the final four. The Heat finished their series-ending 97-87 win over Boston on a crazy 16-0 run. Want to know how polarizing LeBron is? On back-to-back tweets in our Twitter feed, we saw the words “classless” and “classy” when describing his end-of-game celebration/comments. For everything he’s had to go through this year, LeBron’s late-game heroics were an enormous “How my booty taste?” to all of the haters. The biggest sequence of the game came with about four minutes left and the Heat down five. James Jones hit a transition three before Ray Allen (18 points) missed an open trey. Then Chris Bosh (14 points, 11 rebounds) drove and dunked before Paul Pierce drove and missed. After that LeBron (33 points) was wet on a three to suddenly put Miami up five. A few possessions later, Pierce and Jeff Green miscommunicated on a pass and it went out of bounds (fitting that they showed Danny Ainge immediately after). From there, the King stared down Pierce and hit a three to put Miami up six with 40 seconds left. He went on to score two more buckets to finish out the scoring … Down the stretch, it was a changing of the guard. The Heat beat Boston at their own game, staying close throughout and then when it really mattered, executing and making plays. It came down to who wanted it more, and Miami fought so much harder. It was LeBron and D-Wade‘s (34 points, 10 rebounds) will against what was left of the Celtics, Jermaine O’Neal and Rajon Rondo sprawled out on the sidelines, Shaq in street clothes, Perkins halfway across the country in a different uniform. Boston didn’t have enough left, and the intensity of two maligned Miami stars suffocated them … The elbow dislocation (and multiple other injuries) finally caught up to Rondo (six points) last night as he struggled to do just about anything. In the fourth quarter, his minutes went to Delonte West. But are we sure Mike Bibby didn’t tell Rondo he’s only allowed to use half of his body to even it out? In the conference finals, Bibby may literally cut someone in half to make it fair. We don’t want to get at Bibby two nights in a row, but his playoff PER is 1.1. That’s the worst in NBA playoff history. The worst in history. How does this guy earn a paycheck? … Playing against the front-running Heat, you almost have to jump out early, especially in Miami. With the crowd all but ready to anoint Miami, the Celtics got on them early and didn’t let up, leading for basically the entire first half. Kevin Garnett was a beast early (15 points, 11 rebounds). The Heat, and especially LeBron, were really relaxed, like the series was already clinched. The only one playing for Miami was Dwyane Wade. He was abusing, hitting buckets in just about every way possible on his way to 23 first-half points. Boston was up at the half, but by scoring on 11 of their last 12 possessions, the Heat had put out a warning … Was that really Jeff Green that the Celtics traded for? Or did Danny Ainge spend a night out drinking with Kevin McHale and before he knew it, was trading the Celtics’ anchor for Gerald Green instead? … Pierce to Rondo: C’mon son! … It was a wild night all around. Even during the postgame press conferences, LeBron finally apologized for the “Decision” and Doc Rivers said he planned on coming back. Most interestingly, check out this tweet from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst: LeBron: “As much as I loved my teammates back in Cleveland as much as I loved home, I knew it couldn’t do it by myself against that team.” … Some interesting playoff subplots: this will be the first Finals since 1998 to not have Kobe, Shaq or TD. It also will be the first Finals since 1995 to not involve Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich or Pat Riley as coaches … We know Shawn Kemp was the Reign Man back in the day. Now we know that he is loyal too … Keep reading to see how the Thunder pushed the Grizzlies closer to extinction …
We said we were waiting for Memphis to finally look like an eight seed. They did last night, getting blown out in Oklahoma City 99-72. For most of the first half, both teams seemed like they were still sleepy after the marathon on Monday night. Then Russell Westbrook hit two straight jumpers, James Harden put down a dunk and the Thunder had the crowd juiced after a quick 7-0 spurt. From there, the Thunder closed out the half with so much energy that we thought they would blow the roof off, with Kevin Durant (19 points) leading the way. In the third quarter, Memphis just wore down. It’s one thing to win a triple-overtime game and then come home to some of the best fans in basketball. But it’s much harder to be 100 percent engaged when you’re coming off a loss like the Grizz did … The Grizzlies’ offense was pathetic all night. Early in the first quarter, they could’ve jumped all over OKC (who were turning it over like clockwork), but Memphis couldn’t find shots. Then in the second half, it just got ugly. They missed six or seven layups and let the energy of the Thunder dictate what they were going to do. Too bad they still don’t have Hasheem Thabeet to bring in off the bench. Or Jake Tsakalidis … Westbrook was in control all game. We can’t recall a single bad shot. Still, we wish this was 2k. That way, we could just throw Westbrook into the drills and give him a +2 every month in passing and offensive awareness … Kendrick Perkins was an altar boy? No wonder he played so well next to Jesus … Lionel Hollins in the Memphis huddle during the second half looked like a cross between a nine-year old who didn’t get that new Call of Duty on Christmas and Blake Griffin in April when he finally realized he was playing for the Clippers and Sterling … What out-of-touch-with-reality suit wrote these Teen Mobile commercials? And who gave the green light to play at least one during every commercial break? … Rest in peace Tractor. While the news came out early yesterday, last night we found out he was actually on the phone with his wife when the connection was lost, apparently as he was having a heart attack. No one wants to see this happen, and it had to be particularly difficult for the family to know they were talking to him just before he collapsed … Have you seen our new cover? … We’re out like Carlos Arroyo and the Celtics.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.