In the 2007 NBA playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James blazed through the Eastern Conference on their way to what many people thought would be the first of many NBA Finals appearances for the league’s most talented and most beloved superstar.
James looked very Jordan-esque as he willed the Cavaliers past the lowly Washington Wizards in four easy games, fought past the New Jersey Nets in six games and then bested the Detroit Pistons in the most epic battle of the entire playoffs setting them up for a Finals’ showdown versus Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.
That’s where the Jordan comparisons would end though as the three-time champion Spurs made quick work of the upstart Cavaliers hoisting their fourth championship banner in nine years. James tried unsuccessfully for three more seasons to make it back to the Finals before finally giving up and “taking his talents to South Beach.”
James would join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat in order to better his chances of winning a championship and it paid off…sort of. James and the Heat were successful in getting to the Finals last year only to be denied by the Dallas Mavericks.
This year it looks like the Heat may be headed back to give James another shot at winning that elusive ring that he has so coveted. Only problem is there may be another Spurs juggernaut on the risen to once again deny him his place in championship history.
The Spurs still have the same three stars that whipped James in that 2007 Finals matchup. While Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Duncan are a lot older, they are still a potent combination on the court.
What makes them so dangerous this year though is their depth. Sure that 2007 team had a deep bench but the Spurs played mostly an eight-man rotation in the playoffs.
This year, Coach Gregg Popovich has gone deeper into his bench in an effort to rest his aging superstars. He has been so adamant about resting his aging trio that Parker had to convince Popovich to put him back in during Game 2 of their first round matchup with the Utah Jazz.
But the way San Antonio has played this season and is playing in the playoffs; there may not be a team in the Western Conference that can deny them a return to the Finals. And if the Spurs do go to the Finals then they will be facing a hungrier, more experienced and more determined LeBron James than the one they faced before.
The final result may still be the same though. The Spurs are the more experienced team and Popovich is a way better coach than the Heat’s Eric Spoelstra.
There are many people rooting for James to finally succeed though in what would be his third attempt at a ring but if the Spurs have anything to say about it then the third time won’t be the charm.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.
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