In each playoff series there is a player that pushes his way into the limelight and shines for a game or two. That person is considered an X-Factor. Tonight for Game 7 you can push all the notions of one guy making a difference out the window. The team that uses everyone correctly will be the ones to hoist up the Larry O’Brien trophy tonight.
Yes LeBron James can take the game over, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has handled that before in this series. The winner of tonight’s game will be a collective effort.
Whether it is Tony Parker or Tim Duncan leading the charge for the Spurs, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, and the rest of San Antonio will need to chip in so the Spurs can win their fifth NBA title.
LeBron James (headband or no headband) will need Wade, Bosh, Chalmers, and Allen to be alongside him making baskets and blocking shots.
Both Popovich and Erik Spoelstra will have their teams mentally and physically prepared tonight. There have been talks of the Spurs having a mental meltdown after losing Game 6. That could be the case for that night, but Popovich won’t let his guys feed into the negativity of the media.
Both Duncan and Parker are saying the right things when they were asked about the game tonight.
“You know what, it’s all about just winning the title. It’s not about situation or what has led up to it,” Tim Duncan said. “It’s a great story for everybody else, but we’re here for one reason, one reason only: It’s to try to win this game. We have had a very good season thus far, and I think we just want to get to the game more than anything. We just want to see what happens and be able to leave everything out there.”
“We just have to be positive and forget Game 6,” Parker said. “It was a great opportunity, but that’s life. It’s basketball and everybody will be ready.”
On the other side of the coin Spoelstra will not allow his team to think Game 7 is in the bag since they are playing in front of their fans in Miami. Yes they team did have a remarkable comeback win in overtime, but that doesn’t mean anything for tonight’s game.
Erik knows the Spurs can beat his team. No team in this series has won back to back games. Spoelstra spoke of this during this series saying, “If people just say it’s about us and the fact we’re not winning, we don’t have our act together that doesn’t give any credit to the Pacers or Spurs. [The Heat and Spurs] are the two best teams, and it should be tight.”
LeBron James knows how big this game is for not only the team, but for him and his legacy. He has been under the microscope during the playoffs. Every shot, pass, and even his body language has been over analyzed.
“I want to go down as one of the greatest. I want our team to go down as one of the greatest teams. And we have an opportunity to do that,” James said. “Hasn’t been many teams to win back-to-back championships. It’s so hard. It’s the hardest thing. I said last year it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, winning my first. Last year don’t even come close to what we’ve gone through in this postseason and in these finals. So I’ll be there (Thursday) night. I’m going to give it my all.”
Hopefully Game 7 will be like Games 1 and 6 and not like Games 2 and 3. In the end we will either see Duncan possibly ride off into the sunset in retirement with his fifth NBA title or James working his way to fulfill the promise of “not one, not two, not three……”