by: Michael Shields
Of course it wasn’t. Hopefully it isn’t even the best series of the 2012 playoffs. But hyperbole sells papers. It inflates neilsen ratings. It gets you off your ass, and into the stores. It excites you. But it truly could have been spoken of in the same league as some of the greatest (2nd round match-ups) of all time. It could of, until the King and his boy took it upon themselves to ruin all the fun.
I am still in awe of how wildly captivating I found The Heat – Pacers series to be. It had the type of drama that you do not expect from a match-up such as this, one featuring a marquee team matched against one that can easily be described as nondescript. The type of drama usually reserved for the New York Knicks regular season. Reggie Miller-less Pacer teams are supposed to be boring, awful even. So how did they provide this much action, this much drama? How did the Pacers find a way to almost shock the world? Well, Lebron’s contemporary brand of villainy plays an integral roll in this one (more on that later), but there is much more to it.
If the Chesapeake Energy Arena can be viewed now as the Rose Garden of the late 80s and early 90s (the similarities, to me, are daunting – replace the red with blue and go from there) then Market Square is (for a moment) a Maloof-less Arco of the early 00’s where the under-matched Kings (way more talented than the Pacers I am well aware) were trying to take out the mighty Lakers with their indomitable one-two punch of Kobe and Shaq. So much hope in the air you can almost taste it. Moments upon moments where you can see the look in the eyes of the players and the fans that scream…..hey, we can actually do this. We can play with these guys! This was the case with this series.
David vs Goliath stories always entertain. Every-time. But this series was more than just that. A series whose greatness demands that we delve into each game and examine it as its own entity and see how it contributes to the spectacular whole. And no better place to start than game 1.