The Miami Heat gutted out a Game 5 win over the LA Lakers on Friday Night. Jimmy motherfuckin’ Butler dropped another triple double to become both the first and second player ever to accomplish the feat and come away with a victory in the NBA Finals. In my opinion, he is clearly the MVP of the Finals regardless of who wins the Championship.
But down the stretch, the real difference-makers were not named Jimmy or LeBron. Duncan Robinson hit two three-pointers at crucial moments for the Heat, while the Lakers … had Danny Green. This is the same guy who failed to show up during prior playoff runs with the Spurs or the Raptors, and yet he is expected to improve on his career of playoff mediocrity for the Lakers. Sure, he has two rings, but he wasn’t the star for either championship and he is definitely not the star now.
Look, I am not an NBA fan. I think I’ve watched two full games in the past four years. But when I did watch the NBA, Danny Green was a corner three shooter for the Spurs. Lo and behold, in Game 5, Green hit a big-time three-pointer from the corner when the Lakers went on a 15-3 run to take the lead in the second half of the 4th quarter. After that shot, I watched Danny gain lots of confidence and take 3 more three-pointers – all uncontested-from the top of the key instead of the corner. Brick. Brick. And Brick. The last one has gotten all of Los Angeles upset with him because it came after LA took their last time-out with less than thirty seconds to go in the game.
Lakers fans have a right to be upset. After all, that was a career-defining, “Big Shot Bob” type of moment. And Green failed to put himself in the best position on the floor to succeed. You know who always tried to put himself in a spot on the floor where he could succeed? Robert Horry for the Spurs and the Lakers. Ray Allen for the Heat. Players who earned their rings with clutch shooting and a sense of where they could actually help their team instead of becoming a liability when the chips are down.
Based on Danny’s complaining about “hateful” fans who have criticized him throughout the playoffs, he will never learn. So, Eric Spoelstra, keep leaving him open at the top of the key. He couldn’t beat you with San Antonio, and he probably can’t beat you with LA. #HEATCulture