I had an epiphany during last night’s likely Finals preview involving the Heat and the Thunder.
I’d seen the caveman that is Kendrick Perkins thump Dwyane Wade over the head twice within one flagrant foul. I’d seen the most self oblivious star in the league, Russell Westbrook, assault an airborne LeBron James because he had forced him into one of his 5 costly turnovers. I’d seen this year’s Derrick Rose, the fraudulent MVP and a so called friend of the Heat’s no.6, strike James across the face as he flew in for a dunk in an act of frustration because he had been outplayed to the tune of 9 turnovers.
That is of course ignoring the elbowing, the pushing, the swearing, jeering and jarring that all came from the current no.1 seed in the Western Conference.
If you haven’t gotten where I’m taking this, let’s go back a few months.
The Lakers were in Oklahoma City in what many believe will be the Western Conference Finals. Kobe Bryant had been getting fouled and trash talked all game by Westbrook, Harden and mostly Sefolusha, who has certainly embraced this growing culture within the Thunder. Bryant responded to this clear act of disrespect by correctly admitting OKC have to right to “sit at his lunch table”.
Obviously that is only going to encourage the Thunder more, so when they headed to the Staples Center a few days ago the classless fouls, the unnecessary trash talk and everything that comes with it continued.
At least they showed enough respect for Kobe to not pummel him to the floor with every opportunity. Maybe that’s why Bryant stuck to jumpers.
Wade and LeBron clearly didn’t garner the same treatment.
Nonetheless the Thunder have made it clear they want to be the best team in the league and they want to do it in the slimiest way possible. They have no intentions of outplaying opponents, despite holding the talent to do so. They have no intentions of outscoring their opponents even though they do so most nights. They have no intentions of out defending their opponents despite having possibly the best defensive front court the NBA has seen in the past decade.
Oklahoma City want to bully their way to the title, taking out anyone and everyone in their way. No not in the same way Kevin Garnett led the Celtics to the Championship over the Lakers. Boston did that the right way, no one will accuse them of anything less.
You cannot win the NBA Championship playing with the mentality the Thunder have. It is not confidence, it is not swagger, it is disrespect. They go out onto the court every night thinking they need to physically assault the other team to let them know they are the better side. Sure, this doesn’t occur on a nightly basis, but when it matters most OKC have continually proven they not only disrespect the great players and teams, but they disrespect the game of basketball.
Kendrick Perkins, Russell Westbrook, James Haden, Thabo Sefolusha, hell even Kevin Durant, have made it clear they are more interested in making gestures to the Heat’s bench than they are winning the ball game.
People always talk about how wonderful Kevin Durant is as a human being, but what do any of you know about Kevin Durant? Do any of you know him personally? All we can judge him on is what he does on the court, and, at times, he is severely lacking in respect and class. Westbrook would rather score 50 and do that cute three point pistol action than pass to Durant and/or win a game. Kendrick Perkins must be jealous that LeBron James is better than him? Sefolusha and Harden aren’t worth my time. Gillete needs to sponsor the latter.
Oh but the awful LeBron James? The spoilt kid that spent his childhood living in his mom’s car? That same terrible human being that devotes so much of his free time to charity all around the country? Each time he was tackled to the ground or struck in the face, he got up and walked away. He refused to be drawn in. He was the bigger man. Same can be said for Dwyane Wade. Same can be said for the entirety of the Heat’s roster. They did themselves proud yesterday.
The crux of my argument is this. Class always comes out on top.
That is why LeBron James will be MVP. That is why the Miami Heat will be the 2011/2012 NBA Champions.
Tags: Basketball Boston Celtics Championship James Harden Kendrick Perkins Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant LA Lakers Lebron James Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat MVP NBA OKC Thunder Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook Serge Ibaka Thabo Sefolusha