Two-word recap of Game 6 between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics: LeBron James.
James had 45 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists, the first player to do that in the playoffs since Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain in 1964. And how did Boston fans, those basketball purists, show their appreciation for the historic performance? They dumped beer on James’s head as he made his way to the locker room after the game.
To be fair, it was probably just one classless fan and the crowd did chant “Let’s Go Celtics!” ad infinitum when their team was hopelessly out of the game, an admirable show of support (Knicks fans would have probably been booing, Miami fans already dancing at Bongos). But then you remember that another Boston fan threw the basketball at Dwyane Wade’s head after it (the ball, not Wade’s head) bounced into the seats, and you think, “What would Ron Artest do?”
But let’s not focus on the negative. With a good showing by Chris Bosh and one for the ages by James, the Heat pulled out a tough win in a demonstratively hostile environment to force Game 7 back in Miami. While all the talking heads have climbed back onto the Heat’s bandwagon (I’ll admit I too gave Miami little chance in Game 6), the team still has to win at home against a Celtics team that will not go down without a fight. As James said after the game (and his unsightly mouth guard has been saying all playoffs long), it’s much too early to celebrate. The beer dripping down his forehead was probably a pungent reminder that there’s a lot to do before the Heat players are drowning each other in champagne.
To close things out, here’s my exchange, ahem, attempted exchange with Heat owner Micky Arison after Thursday night’s game. I will update this post as soon as he responds, which is to say, never.