Was that a good job of bringing you into this article?
Does the thought of the Heat winning two straight and taking the Finals make you sick to your stomach?
Well, unless you're a Mavs fan, you can cheer for Dallas to win it all if you choose, but on Sunday, yes, cheer for the Heat.
As a Heat fan, I would've preferred this series ended in a Miami sweep. But as an NBA fan, I knew this series had to go longer. I knew that after a season this great league-wide, the only way for it to end was for this series to go seven.
Well if Miami wins on Sunday, that will happen.
"But why?" you may be asking me, "why should I want those prima donnas to win?"
Well, at least as far as Sunday goes, the future and health of the NBA depends on it, and as much as it pains me to admit, I'd probably say the same thing about this upcoming Game 6 had Miami held on during either Games 2 or 4, or if they would've won Game 5.
Sunday might be the last time we see NBA basketball for a long time. There's no certainty that come the last Tuesday in October we'll be treated to a double-header consisting of Bulls at Heat at 7:00 pm followed by Lakers at Mavericks at 9:00pm on TNT. (Just throwing those potential opening night matchups out there because they seem very likely.)
We might not see the NBA until December, or January, or February, or even, *gulp*, October 2012.
Now the ratings for this series, and the playoffs as a whole (yes, even that first-round "gem" between Orlando and Atlanta) are up by leaps and bounds this year. You would think that would be enough for the players union and the owners to not be so stubborn and get to the negotiation tables the second David Stern hands the trophy to either Mark Cuban or Mickey Arison, but it might not be.
That's where Game 7 comes in.
Game 7s usually will bring in the best ratings of the series. The drama writes itself: winner take all, win or go home empty-handed. This year it would be especially relevant: On one side it could be the completion of what many consider to be a hard-working team of veterans' last ride; on the other side, it could define a legacy, and be the first test to see if this experiment works.
On top of that, the names are worthy of a marquee: Wade vs. Dirk; and each has a complement of supporting actors. Dirk has Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, JJ Barea, Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion, while Wade has Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, as well as Mario Chalmers, who has made himself at least $10 million and a starting job next season with this series. However it seems we lost LeBron in Chicago after Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and if anyone can find him please alert the authorities, after all he's somebody's father dammit!
So what's the potential for a Game 7 of Heat-Mavs? I'd see the NBA's best ratings since 1998 for a single game, ratings so high that hopefully it will convince the League's owners and players to talk more and make sure the season gets started when it's supposed to.
But even if it does that, it would at least close this season out on a bang, and give basketball fans everywhere something to hold on to.
I really don't care who you're cheering for to win the series or why, but unless you're a Mavs fan, at least on Sunday, cheer for the Heat.
Then when you see another ESPN-Classic worthy game on Tuesday night, hopefully followed by the owners and players getting a deal done after seeing the numbers from that game and the fact that a lockout would literally kill any momentum and buzz that game would give the league, then you'll thank me later, regardless of the outcome.