NBA Finals stage is set. The matchup between the last two bubble contenders will launch on September 30th.  The Miami Heat eclipsed the Celtics in six as the Lakers handled the Nuggets in five games. Something about this series points to a possible Game 7 between fierce competitors.

That something might be the added fuel to the competition between Pat Riley and LeBron James. As you may know, LeBron won 2 rings in Wade County Miami and 2 MVP’s as well. Riley was furious upon his departure because he wanted that, “10 Year Dynasty” he knew he had in his grasp. He later stated his opinion against players with, “Smiling faces and hidden agendas.”

LeBron knows all too well how to get to the NBA Finals. He has been there for the a decade straight except for last year while he was injured for majority of the season. He knows how to reach the main stage but he knows if he doesn’t finish the job – it is all for naught.

The rising star for the Miami Heat is Center Bam Adebayo out of Kentucky. He set the tone from the start of the Eastern Conference Finals with an emphatic rejection of Jayson Tatum’s potential game-winning slam. He also closed the series on a high note with a spectacular bounce back performance where he finished with a career high 32 points along with 14 rebounds. 

Bam’s bounceback proved pivotal as he poured in fourth quarter points as many were beginning to criticize his late-game output. As an individual, he made it paramount to realign himself in order to become the player he wanted to become.

Also, Miami’s Jimmy Butler has been proving doubters wrong. Loyalty runs thick within the Heat organization and it is clear that this team has assembled sharpshooters and hustle players to compliment their stars Butler & Bam.

Many have marked Miami as militaristic or too strict. Fact of the matter is, Pat Riley drives a hard bargain and it commands results. The Heat Way is synonymous with professionalism.

“Practices should be a war. Practices should be harder than the games.”

Former Heat assistant coach David Fizdale

Many Heat players are in the correct physical shape come preseason but in order to pass the grueling tests, one must have immense mental strength as well. Weight and body fat are measured upon arrival within the Heat facility. 

High Standards High Accountability

Conditioning is so important in the NBA because defense wins championships. On defense, you have to communicate to one another in order to be successful. It may prove difficult to talk if you are winded. 

That strenuous conditioning will be put to the test on Wednesday as LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ behemoth prowess might. Guards Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are also key to eye on as they are quick, scrappy and can get to their spots very well.

The bubble has shrunk down to the two best teams. Will Jimmy Butler stamp his Finals passport with a first ever Larry O’Brien trophy? Or will LBJ lock in and hoenn his inner, “Mamba” to bring another chip to LAL?

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