There's an old Sergeant Bilko episode that wafted up into my head as I was thinking about tomorrow's 7th game between the Heat and the Celtics.
Bilko, ever the conniver, has come across a soldier who is an incredible baseball pitcher. Bilko, of course, imagines making some loot by getting the Yankees to sign this phenomenon. The soldier (played by a very young Dick Van Dyke) is a rube and Bilko has to persuade the kid that he can play professional baseball. He also has to convince the scouts who typically are cynical of someone shouting about a prospect. I cant recall the episode completely, but it would not surprise me that Bilko has earned a reputation as someone who will pull a fast one on the scouts, so they are cynical when Bilko calls them to see the pitcher.
Bilko knows that his reputation is not great, so he figures a scheme to get around this. He tells the scouts to come see this great catcher. He gets Doberman to be the catcher and brings Van Dyke along to throw to Doberman. Bilko keeps touting the catcher. The scouts see that the catcher is nobody talented and have their notions of Bilko as goniff confirmed. However, the scouts are astonished by the skill of the pitcher.
Of course, this is Bilko's ploy--talk about the catcher because if he talks about the pitcher the scouts will think there's something up his sleeve. Every time the scouts marvel at the pitcher Bilko says, "The catcher not the pitcher. The catcher. Watch the catcher." Bilko, eventually, pretends to be surprised by the pitcher's ability, downplaying it--"But, I wanted you to see the catcher". The scouts wave the comments about the catcher away and plead with Bilko to help them sign the pitcher. Bilko pretends to be reluctant, but says okay--getting what he wanted in the first place.
Last night, LeBron James had a game for the ages. I have watched a good deal of basketball, but never have seen someone shoot like that or drive like that or, really single handedly, defeat a team. Of course, the Celtics did not help their own cause by not being able to drop the ball in a bathtub, but James was astonishing.
The pundits, having predicted the Celtics to be victors before the game, swung 180 degrees after the game singing the praises of James and assuring that the Heat will pulverize the Celtics in game 7.
In game 7 watch the catcher not the pitcher. The best player on the Heat is not LeBron James. the best player is Dwyane Wade. Dwyane Wade has not had one of his incredible games yet and he is so due. James will not play like he did in game 6. Nobody can and I don't know if anyone ever will. The key to a Celtics victory, besides buying some glasses to help them locate the hoop and occasionally putting the basketball there, is to watch the catcher not the pitcher. Stifle Dwyane Wade and they have a chance. And it will be difficult to stifle Wade.