The Boston Celtics' Game 5 victory in Miami to take a 3-2 series lead over the Heat was just another twist in an exciting Eastern Conference Final. Game 5 was a contest that just had to be seen and anyone who was unable to watch it should be disappointed to have missed a classic.
This series has showcased two great clubs with sky-high ambitions. It featured some of the greatest players in the National Basketball Association. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for the Heat, and Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo for the Celtics. The Heat are relatively young, whereas many believed the Celtics' championship window has been long closed.
The Celtics won a championship in 2008, and they worked extremely hard for it. They captured the title by building team chemistry in Italy during the 2007 preseason. They embraced the idea that the sum is greater than individual parts. In short, they checked their egos at the door. Boston began their first season together with a record of 27-2 and it was believed by many that they would eventually win the title. Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce to finally win a title after many years of playoff failures. The three of them joined the team and got to work. There was little fanfare and celebration.
Then, we have the Heat. After perhaps the most epic free-agent scramble in NBA history, James and Chris Bosh joined Wade in Miami. During this time, James' now infamous "The Decision" aired on ESPN, along with the reactions in the cities of franchises he was considering. It was here James proudly proclaimed the Heat would win numerous championships. It was here that he earned the label of one of the most hated athletes in sports.
So far in two seasons together, the Heat have been wildly successful, but they have yet to win a title. They have more talent in three guys than other teams have in their whole lineup. But what is becoming increasingly clear, is that James and the rest of the Heat expect success without having to work hard for it. They constantly complain to the officials, and this is something Rondo pointed out recently. When asked at halftime during Game 4 how he was able to break down Miami's defense so easily, he said that the Heat "complain and cry to the referees in transition." We are beginning to realize that when things become difficult for the Heat, the team shuts down.
So this is a series between two teams with totally different mindsets. The Celtics are all about teamwork and on-court success with no excuses. Miami is a club that seems to believe that because James and Wade are on the same team, that should mean multiple championships that they have already achieved greatness. So far, that has already earned them a Finals loss and has them on the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference Finals. If Miami can't pull out two more victories over the final two games of the series, Miami's trio won't last past the offseason.