Our love affair with Game 7

AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Al Diaz

The mystique of a Game 7 is sports poetry. It’s not just the culmination of one series; it’s the climax of an entire season for two teams.

As a society, we revolve around the notion of “Put Up or Shut Up,” and nothing defines that more than a Game 7. You only have one shot to validate everything you did all year, and fortunes can change in a second.

The NBA’s lifeblood is Game 7. So much folklore has been written during winner-take-all battles, and it puts the world’s best athletes on true display in their desperation to win one more game. While the league’s postseason seems to last for years on end, 48 minutes seem to only last 48 seconds in a Game 7.

Tonight, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will duel for the right to advance to the NBA Finals, where the Oklahoma City Thunder are already waiting. There will be as many storylines as personalities in this one.

Can LeBron James repeat his 45-point, Game 6 performance and carry the Heat to the Finals?

Will Dwyane Wade actually show up and make a contribution on offense for the Heat? If not, will he at least get a hand up on defense and help his team that way?

Are the Celtics’ old guys going to have enough in the tank to rise up and win one more game in a hostile environment?

Can Rajon Rondo score 40 points if those old guys aren’t ready for the challenge?

According to ESPN (and confirmed by the Boston Herald), Game 6 was the most-watched NBA playoff game in the history of cable. Tonight’s game is also on cable — is there any chance Game 7 doesn’t break records?

If the sports world appreciates the magic of this Game 7 as they have with others, it’s going to be a long time before an NBA playoff game draws higher ratings than tonight’s Heat-Celtics elimination game.

Will you be watching tonight?

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