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LeBron James going to his knee, clutching Dwyane Wade while the two SuperFriends embraced, and doing his best Rod Tidwell impression said it all. The pure jubilation of the fickle Miami patrons said it all. Referee Bill Spooner emphatically signalling Miami Heat ball like he was a wide receiver catching a pivotal 3rd & 12 as Delonte West launched an extraneous three-pointer said it all.
What exactly did it say?
Nothing, because things aren’t quite what they seem, as Miami did everything but pour confetti out from the rafters following their series-clinching win Wednesday night.
Reality is that the NBA landscape is more obfucated than ever. As LeBron James gracefully lauded the Celtics in his post game interview (even as going as far to say that the antecedent Big Three was the reason his Big 2 1/2 got together), Doc Rivers was holding a press conference declaring that as of today, he plans on resuming his posistion as head coach of the Boston Celtics next season.
Winning this series was supposed to mean something more than a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals for the SuperFriends. Basically, the Miami Heat thought this was a corrnation. They thought this series victory was indictative of the old guard bequeathing them the rite of passage. “Here are the keys,” the Heat thought the Celtics would say, “She stalls out in between second and third gear, but ease up on the clutch, and she’ll be just fine. Oh, and watch out for LA – the engine tends to get overheated in June.”
This was not the case, though. Because just like LeBron’s histrionics and the crowd’s nascent passion properly stated the weighty nature of beating the Celtics to this Miami team, there were other harbingers that this was not over.
And how do I know this?
The look on Rajon Rondo’s face as James drilled back-to-back three pointers to provide Miami with what would become an insurmountable lead said it all. Ray Allen staying on the court to wish the Miami Heat good luck said it all. Meanwhile, the rest of the Boston squad storming off the court upon defeat said it all. Finally, Doc Rivers and his post-game comments said it all.
If Doc was ever going to leave, the time would be now. His son – Austin Rivers – is the top-rated high school prospect in America. For years now, rumors have surfaced about Rivers resigning to watch his kid play. On top of that, his hoary squad is exhausted both physically and mentally. They came within 7 minutes of a second championship in three years, before being denied by the Kobettes last year. Additionally, this year the team went from mid-season title favorites to being ousted in the second-round in 5 games. No one would blame Doc for those transgressions, though. Critics are more prone to look at the likes of Big Baby, who’s lackluster performance taking on a more significant role during the playoffs is only paralled by Randy Jackson’s “being the new Simon” on American Idol. Furthermore other scapegoats are easily found like the raw Jeff Green, the altruistic yet broken down Shaq, or the fashion entrenpeneur Jermaine O’Neal.
None of that matters now. It’s over.
But here’s the thing, a few days ago “It’s” meant this era in Celtics basketball, and now - with Rivers coming back - the word “It’s” has transformed into just this season. Rivers coming back means he knows there is unfinished business, championships still to be had, and a legacy that could realistically still grow.