Every basketball junkie I know was giddy when the Heat and Thunder advanced to The Finals.
Supposed experts gushed about the matchup and almost universally predicted a seven-game bloodbath. Idiots expected it to go a full seven as well. There were about a billion storylines being discussed ad nauseum — and that's just what involved LeBron James. It seemed inevitable that series would come down to which of the six stars involved — James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade, and to a lesser extent, Chris Bosh and James Harden — shone the brightest.
I don't remember anyone predicting what actually happened. What actually happened was the Heat rolled to a five-game series win including an anticlimactic 121-106 victory in last night's clincher. And while James was the best player on the court, by a mile, a major part of the reason the Heat won was the play of Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller.
And I was disappointed. I'm admittedly not the biggest NBA fan in the world, but I do like pro basketball, and I bought into the hype. When the teams split a pair in Oklahoma City to begin the series, I thought we were in for what everyone expected. As the teams committed turnover after turnover in Game 3, I began to have to fight to keep interest. Westbrook was awesome in Game 4, and made that one pretty watchable, but last night was just horrible. I won't lie and say my dislike for the Heat isn't part of the reason why.
When you factor in all the garbage that came with it — 8 p.m. CST starting times for games on the east coast; the NBA's usual horse you-know-what officiating; consistently bad pregame, postgame and halftime shows from ESPN (which was, in fairness, offset by in-game announcing I could at least tolerate), I'd say I really didn't enjoy watching these Finals very much at all.