We nearly live in a world in which Danny Green is the NBA Finals MVP and LeBron James is a lonely stat-sheet stuffer with a broken jumper.
We don’t all need to board up the windows just yet, but with one or two games left in the 2013 NBA Finals, this may be a good time to take inventory of your batteries and canned goods. Reality has been bent up and distorted to the level of psychedelia, and nobody will blame you for feeling a little paranoid.
That we are a mere 48 minutes from Green — thrice-cut second-round draft pick — sheepishly shoulder-pressing the Bill Russell Trophy in front of all the white pants and plastic breasts in South Beach is an unthinkable image. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that. Nobody thought such a thing was plausible, and yet here we are watching it in full neon.
If you’d rather get real black-and-white about it, Green is a really good shooter who plays on a team that is really good at finding the open man, and he has been that open man a lot. So many times that he has already set the Finals record with 25 3-pointers on 38 attempts. Really. 25. Here they are:
The surrealism is not found in Green being capable of making numerous 3-pointers, even in a row. The surrealism is rooted in Green having divorced himself from the notion that he is capable of failure.
Sunday night, Green credited God for his shooting.
“There is no other explanation,” he said.
That would be quite a twist on the series, as the buck on most NBA-related conspiracy theories stops at commissioner David Stern.
But, you know, if there are enough thunderstorms and enough time passes, eventually a lightning bolt is going to set your house on fire, and that appears to be happening to the Miami Heat. Green is a white-hot little ball of statistical probability, proper footwork and potential energy being discharged with a thunderclap right onto Miami’s head.
And yet somehow the Heat don’t appear to have realized it’s even raining out here.
And why is it that the Miami Heat seem capable of only trying their hardest after things have gone wrong? They seem to believe they can make that old “Well, we weren’t really trying” claim and have the results thrown out. It is like they perceive themselves as being in the subjective position of a defendant at trial. They seem to think they can argue their way out of this, as though a week from now they’ll be in a courtroom suggesting to a jury that Green isn’t really a star, so all those points he scored shouldn’t really count.
The Heat don’t seem to respect the possibility that the Spurs could actually beat them for real, and it feels weird for them to think that way about an opposing coach who is 4-for-4 in the Finals, an opposing point guard who is probably the best in the world and an opposing power forward who is probably the best of all time and still more or less plays like it.
But what’s even weirder is that the Heat might be right.
It could be that we live in a world not in which Green is the Finals MVP, but in which a series-long, supernatural shooting performance is little more than the stuff of historical footnote. That during one long boring car ride someday you will tell your kid about the time this role player named Danny Green made something like 35 3s in the NBA Finals and it didn’t even matter.
And if that ends up being the case, well, there’s nothing psychedelic about that. That’s just cold gray reality.