“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”
A team built on swarming, strong-side defense that shares the offensive burden once again lies between LeBron James and the NBA Finals. Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers is set to tip off at 8:30 pm Monday night in the sun-burned city of Miami–a year and a week since the Boston Celtics memorably went the distance with the inevitable heavyweight champs.
Watching the Indiana Pacers and their brash young coach, Frank Vogel (a familiar face in Boston), shrink the court and surround James with bodies, Celtics fans can’t help but be reminded of the feelings of that fateful Game 7. The Pride, The Fear, The Excitement.
The old, banged up boys from Boston had once again inexplicably taken a 3-2 series lead, before James forced a Game 7 with a 45-point, 15-rebound effort for the ages. Heading into that all-important game, we knew Boston was going against the current–on the road, against the best basketball player in the word.
But that was no matter, because we hoped (wished and prayed) that the Celtics would shoot better, rebound more…and reach the NBA Finals for the third time in the Big Three Era.
It eluded us then but, lest we forget, it eluded the Indiana Pacers as well.
Last year, in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Pacers had the Heat on high alert, squaring the series at 2 games apiece before eventually fading in 6 games. But Indiana believes in the green light, the orgastic future. They have pushed the defending champions to the distance and now, both fighters sit on their stool in the corner, worn and wearied, waiting for the bell to sound.
Sure, the Pacers and their fans know they are paddling upstream, playing against the best team with the best player on their home floor. But that’s no matter. Because, just maybe, tonight the Pacers will run faster, stretch out their arms farther…And one fine morning – -