It would have been easy to make it about No. 6. And LeBron James certainly did his part in Monday night's 99-76 on-to-the-NBA-Finals victory over the Indiana Pacers at AmericanAirlines Arena. But the Miami Heat have appreciated from the moment James signed on, and from the moments before James signed on, that having-to-do-everything LeBron only gets you so far. So Erik Spoelstra stood by his convictions, stood by the roster Pat Riley presented him. And Monday, stood by the other two parts of his Big Three. He could have quit on Udonis Haslem earlier in this series, when there was precious little there. He didn't. Haslem rewarded that faith with enough baseline jumpers to deliver the Heat to Game 7. He could have moved past Ray Allen, who stood 7 of 24 on 3-pointers in the series entering Monday's winner-take-all game. Instead, earlier in the series Spoelstra found a defensive matchup for Allen that worked, against Paul George of all people, and was rewarded with Allen making his first three 3-pointers Monday. Ditto the continued faith in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who were dreadful in Saturday's Game 6 loss. At the outset, the ball was in the hands of Wade, the hands of Bosh, every effort made to restore Big Three order. And even after Bosh opened 1 of 8, the ball still was in Bosh hands, as he finally drained a 3-pointer that produced a double-digit Heat lead and had Bosh roaring the type of bad word usually reserved for Roy Hibbert discussions of media voting for NBA awards. Of the Heat's first 14 shots, none were by LeBron. That allowed Wade to get kick-started. And you know what? He's back, Euro-stepping Hibbert into foul trouble Monday, his 21 points Monday second only to James' 32. To repeat: Dwyane Wade is not dead yet. Spoelstra's Pace & Space had always been about ball movement, team defense, the collective good, even with LeBron as the focus. Spoelstra wasn't about to change. Sink or swim. Monday, it went swimmingly.
99-76 Game 7 win delivers Miami Heat to NBA Finals
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Jun 4