Heat: A professional basketball team that calls the city of Miami home.
Prostration: Extreme exhaustion or lack of energy or power.
Combine the two and you get a good picture of Miami's effort level in game six against the Pacers in Indianapolis. The Heat were close at the half, but came out for the second half like old geezers coming out of their retirement condo's to pick up the morning Miami Herald Tribune.
The Pacers dominated the third quarter, nearly doubling Miami's point output (29-15), and frustrating the Heat with their stingy defense.
For the game, the Heat shot a dismal 36% from the floor, which includes a sizzling 10-15 from three point range. Sadly for Miami, they had their best performance from behind the arc all series, and they let it go to waste. The Heat were outrebounded 53-33 as well. If not for Lebron James 29 point effort and Miami winning the turnover battle, the score would have been worse than 91-77.
You have to give the Pacers a lot of credit. Coming into this series, I admit I said I would have been surprised if Indiana won more than a game. I didn't give them enough credit. Anyone (like me) who thought this wouldn't be much of a series were wrong. The Heat margin of victory in their three wins has been ten points on average. The Pacers three wins--just over eight per game. It's been much tighter than anyone could have thought.
The Pacers size and defensive ability has frustrated Miami's talented offensive players. Lebron has been nothing short of spectacular game in and game out, but the other members of "the big three" have been anything but. Dwyane Wade looks like he is playing at half speed due to a knee injury, and Chris Bosh has been woefully inconsistent. Mad props have to go to Indiana's defensive effort for both.
Now, it is gut check time for Miami. If they want to be as good as they think they are, game seven Monday night is a must win.
Remember the boastful press conference when King James signed with Wade and Bosh? How when asked how many championships they thought they would win together, they said, "we're talkin' not just one, not two, not three, not four, not five..." and then erupted in giddy laughter? Well, game seven is their chance to prove that perceived greatness.
A win in game seven Monday night, and they will be moving on to the NBA finals for the third straight year. They will be playing an aging Spurs team with hopes of one last shot at glory. It would be a series the younger, more talented Heat would no doubt be favored to win, making it two straight titles. They would also no doubt be favored to win it again next year, and be well on their way to backing up their boast.
A loss in game seven, and they would suddenly be a team who lost in the finals to a Dallas Mavericks team two years ago, and then couldn't even make it into the finals this year. They would open themselves to some people calling them the most overrated, overhyped team in NBA history.
Not only is the team's budding dynasty on the line, so is Lebron James legacy. For most people, James is already in consideration with Michael Jordan as "the best player to ever play the game". These are the type of games that Jordan never lost. From his shot over Craig Ehlo to title winning jumper over Bryon Russell and many others in between, Jordan and his Bulls always came out on top. If James falls short, and fails to lead his Heat to victory, it will add more fuel to the argumant that he still isn't in Jordan's class.
Will Lebron and the Heat be up to the task. I'd honestly be surprised if they aren't, but the way this series has gone, it certainly wouldn't SHOCK me.
The Heat better hope they are up to the task. The surely is a lot at stake.