Picture a conference room within a high-rise office building in Atlanta GA in the early 80’s…someone gets the bright idea to pull the trigger on a decision to not introduce a new version of Coca-Cola to sell side-by-side with the incumbent…but actually stop making the current formulation of Coke entirely and just sell the new mixture. Bad decision.
Picture a Boys & Girls club in Greenwich CT last summer…someone gets the bright idea to convince LeBron James to pull the trigger on a decision to leave his hometown Cavaliers and take his talents to South Beach to play for the Heat on national television – in a one hour “special”- without giving his prior employer or his loyal fans any kind of advance notice or explanation. He then went straight to Miami and had a disco party promising multiple titles, not even acknowledging any mental rear-view mirror. Bad decision.
LeBron James took another step last night aside from advancing one round further in this year’s NBA Playoffs with the 97-87 win. He apologized for how his departure from Cleveland went down during his post-game comments. More on that in a moment…
Five things I took from last night…as the sun set on the Celtics’ season in South Florida:
1. I thought the Celtics early on in the game did all they could with what they had. While I cannot explain where Kevin Garnett wandered off to after a spectacular first quarter, they were bruised and battered by a combination of age, injury and scheduling. Yet, they got contributions from their bench and it appeared for a while they would somehow force the series out at least one more game.
2. In the final moments Boston once more failed to execute on offense. As we all know each time the Celtics have the basketball they have to come away with something. With the game on the line, all they came away with was tentativeness and turnovers.
3. James’ two three-point shots with the game on the line looked like they were taken from outside the building…and he had a Celt in his grill both times. The player who has been getting ripped all year for not being clutch hit the two most impressive shots of the season within seconds of each other. The net didn’t move either time.
4. Class is Doc Rivers, Ray Allen and Delonte West, all of whom remained on the floor to congratulate the Heat after they broke up their celebration. It appeared all the other Celtics walked straight to the locker room. As for that celebration, some people are criticizing the Heat for being “too happy.” That was a tribute to Boston more than anything else. All Eastern roads connected to the NBA Finals came through Massachusetts and no one knew it more so than Miami. That’s why James went there…to get by the Celtics. While Boston fans are disappointed this morning, understand how much respect your team has all across the nation…especially in that Heat locker room.
5. LeBron’s apology will never be accepted by a certain percentage of people. Never. Understood, especially in Cleveland. The night he made that overblown, under thought TV pronouncement followed by the rock star arrival in his new city will be etched in some folks’ minds for eternity and beyond. I will take a shot at guessing he knows that but at least – finally – he said he had some remorse. I despised him after that 72 hours or so of the “King’s Decision.” I hated the way he handled it. Yet, if you peel the emotion away for just a few seconds no matter how you feel about him now for that decision, my decision is to focus on how magnificent he was on the court last night. My feelings on how he came to Miami can wait for another day…more great basketball to come as the Playoffs roll on.