[1) It is Saturday, June 23. New blogpost coming later today. 2) Thanks again to 'First Take' for having me on this week. It was a bit more scripted than I'd hoped, no chance to needle Skip Bayless about his anti-LeBron leaning (well, except off-air afterward). But thanks to ESPN just the same. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
Click on V-Day: Victory, Vindication, Validation for Heat & LeBron for my early-version column off Miami's championship victory.
VICTORY PARADE MONDAY 11 A.M.: Starts at corner of SW 8th Street and 2nd Avenue, winds along Brickell and Biscayne, ends at arena.
G5: HEAT 121, THUNDER 106: MIAMI CELEBRATES AS HEAT, LEBRON EARN ULTIMATE REDEMPTION!: SMELLS LIKE CHAMPAGNE IN HERE! Awesome, right? Awesome. I'm the paid nuetral observer, but I make no apology for feeling good for South Florida, feeling good for Heat fans, feeling good for LeBron James, feeling good for Pat Riley, D-Wade, Udonis and all the other good people connected with this franchise. You too, Juwan Howard. (Yes, also feeling good I don't have to hop a Sunday flight to Oklahoma City...) What a show tonight! Finals MVP LeBron James with a triple-double, fellow BIg 3'ers Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade both with 20-plus, and Mike Miller -- Mike Miller! -- leading a barrage of 3-point baskets with half of Miami's NBA-Finals-record tying 14. Original post: There will be no in-between tonight as midnight nears, no mistaking the sound. Carhorns will be honking in a jubilant cacophony. Or downtown will be eerily, numbly quiet, choked by disappointment and anxiety. That sound, or lack of, will be the difference tonight between Miami taking Game 5 and winning the franchise's second championship -- celebrating on its own floor for the first time -- or failing to do so and heading back to Oklahoma City with momentum swung back to the Thunder. And a lot of that will depend on whether LeBron James is fully recovered from his severe leg cramps and ready to win his first NBA championship. Man, sports do not get much better than what the feeling will be in the arena at tip-off. Can't wait. Nothing would surprise me (and prudently I have an Oklahoma City flight on hold), but I see the Heat closing it out tonight and celebrating the moment that's been two years in the making. Do you? Or do you have a queasy feeling about tonight that you hate to admit?
THREE KEYS FOR HEAT IN GAME 5: 1) A healthy LeBron James, of course. What were reported as leg cramps hindered James the last five minutes of Game 4 and kept him out entirely the crucial last minute. Will here be an after-effect? Do we believe conspiracy theories about a more serious injury? There is no reason to think LeBron won't be 100 percent, but we can't know for sure until the game is on. 2) Better defense on OKC's big two. Do you like Miami's chances tonight if Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combine for 70-plus points again? Me, neither. 3) Another 'Other Guy' stepping up. Earlier in the series it was Shane Battier with his 3's. Tuesday night it was Mario Chalmers with his big 25 points. When Heat have someone other than the Big 3 in at least a peripheral starring role, good things happen. Hidden Bonus Key Just For You: Treat this like a winner-take-all Game 7: Because Heat heading back to Oklahoma City needing to win one of two there will cause high anxiety across South Florida. And with good reason.
Click back. Will be adding/updating with postgame commentary and analysis...