It’s over. That’s right, it’s over.
I don’t care the Miami Heat are still a victory away from ending the NBA season after a 104-98 victory over Oklahoma City in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Come Thursday night, it’s over.
Why? History says so.
Teams that take 3-1 leads are 30-0 in NBA Finals. Repeat: 30-0, which to Oklahoma City fans may as well be “30 and Oh my goodness we’re screwed.”
Yes, Kevin Durant is great. Russell Westbrook can be, but he hadn’t been until Game 4 because instead of feeding the man – Durant – he was failing at being the man. James Harden, well, if he put as much effort in his jumper as growing a horrendous beard, the series might not be over.
But trust me: It’s over. Let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane and see some of greats whose teams lost three of the first four finals games and ended the season watching their opponents embrace the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
• 2008: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and the Los Lakers collapse in six games to the Boston Celtics, led by Paul Pearce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
• 2001: MVP and scoring champion Allen Iverson did it all that season for Philadelphia – except climb the 76ers out of a 3-1 hole against Shaquille O’Neal and Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers, who won in five.
• 2000: Reggie Miller – one of the purest shooters to ever touch a basketball – and the Pacers fell in six games to O’Neal and Bryant’s Lakers.
• 1999: The Knicks’ Big Four of Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston were simply no match for the Spurs’ Big Four – Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Sean Elliott and Avery Johnson. I was debating omitting Johnson, but he hit the title-clinching shot in Game 5.
• 1998: Karl Malone and John Stockton were a great 1-2 punch, but they still got KO’d by possibly the greatest 1-2 punch ever: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
• 1993: Charles Barkley and the Suns come up short to Jordan, Pippen and John Paxson, whose game-winning three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in Game 6 is, for some reason, one of the least discussed giganic shots in NBA history.
• 1987: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish fall into a hole and get buried in six games by Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy’s Lakers.
• 1964: Wilt Chamberlain and Nate Thurmond’s San Francisco Warriors get bounced by a Celtics’ squad featuring Sam Jones, K.C. Jones, John Havlicek and some dude named Bill Russell, who won more championship rings than he has fingers.
• 1963: It’s simple math: Two great Lakers – Elgin Baylor and Jerry West – against five terrific Celtics – Tom Heinsohn, Russell, Cousy, Sam Jones and K.C. Jones – meant Boston won in six games.
Now, you’re telling me the trio of Durant, Westbrook and Harden can do something numerous Hall of Famers couldn’t do? I’ll even throw in Thabo Sefolosha and raise you a Shane Battier.
Which team’s foursome would you take right now?
Don’t say Oklahoma City’s over LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Battier. That’s like saying in a winner-take-all rock concert, you’d take Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith over Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr.
That’s an argument even Monkees at the Baltimore Zoo wouldn’t make.
Here’s what going to happen late Thursday night as confetti rains from the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena: LeBron will probably kiss the championship trophy like it’s his baby’s momma as the rest of the Heat players unleash a series of hugs so manly ABC executives will consider letting the postgame celebration air on Skinemax, I mean Cinemax.
As players gyrate as they dance to something with a lot of bass, an official from Merriam-Webster Dictionary declares the word “LeBron” will used as the definition of “King,” complete with his photo.
The Heat will chug more Cristal than the Mavericks did last year, simply because they want to say they beat the Mavericks at something.
Meantime, the media will write so much praise about LeBron and Wade the Internet will combust. The Internet Gods won’t know what to do when so many nice things are written about LeBron, who has been blamed for last year’s collapse to the Mavericks, the worldwide financial crisis and most of all, telling kids Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren’t real.
LeBron provides the exclamation point to the postgame celebration by donning a Cleveland Cavaliers cap before looking into the camera: “Cleveland: This is why I took my talent to South Beach!”
How certain am I in my prediction becoming a reality? Oh, 99.9 percent.
Why am I holding out a tenth of a point?
Simple. It’s still Miami.
This team is capable of doing something really, really stupid – even more idiotic than LeBron, Dwyane and Chris predicting they’d win 137 championships before their first practice.
The Heat could sign Dan Marino.
We all know how well he plays in championship games.
Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 19 years of experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game.