Can Carmelo Anthony suit up for the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday?
Apparently, the Heat's Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can use Melo.
You just need one piece of information to understand why Anthony – rumored to possibly be heading to South Beach as a free agent – is needed now not later. The Heat, who were blown out at home by the San Antonio Spurs for the second straight game on Thursday night, have led on their home court for just one minute and 31 seconds out of 96 minutes of play at American Airlines Arena in South Beach.
Yep. The Heat led Game 4 for just 68 seconds. In Game 3, where they were run off the court as well, Miami had the lead for just 23 seconds.
The not-suitable-for-framing performance has put this self-engineered, free-agent dream team on the brink.
They now trail the best-of-seven series, 3-to-1.
Oh yes, LeBron fans are making a list of others to blame when the Heat have to return all that confetti back to Party City.
Hello. No team in NBA Finals history has ever comeback from a 3-1 deficit. Hence, the Heat appear done, in place to lose their second championship in four years.
Worse, and more importantly, it appears the Heat won't do what many thought they would do when they were assembled in controversial fashion four years ago. They won't do something special, they won't go down in history as something to marvel at and behold.
Winning two of four titles is an also-ran move, especially when three supremely talented players join forces, all in their prime, with the hope of winning six or seven championships in a row, at least that's what LeBron said.
Now, it appears, they won't even get to the magical three-peat, a feat many haven't accomplished, a feat that separates you from the championship pack.
Heat president Pat Riley, who owns the trademark on "Three-Peat", won't even be able to cash in.
NBA America hasn't won anything yet. The Spurs will have to nail down one more game. They have three chances, two of them in San Antonio.
Still, NBA America is winning.
You can bet many NBA fans were beaming on Friday, which happened to be the 13th. While LeBron fans hid, didn't look at Twitter and avoided sports-talk radio like a trip to the dentist, the masses thanked the Spurs for putting this talented trio on the brink of going home empty-handed.
Many NBA fans hated how this team was put together and felt it undermined the competitive balance of the league, making most teams mere fodder for LeBron and Company.
This wasn't greatness, it was gluttony.
Many hoped the Dr. Frankstein experiment wouldn't work at all, that somehow the basketball Gods wouldn't go along with the hijacking of the Association as we knew it. And that the Big 3 would wind up not winning a single ring together.
And after they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, their first season together, some had hope. But the Heat regrouped to win the last two titles, beating the Thunder and these Spurs.
Still, it was about 2014. This was the year LeBron and his buds could make a history-making impression in the league.
No matter if you liked the Heat or not, you would have to respect three championships in a row. It's just a hard thing to accomplish under any circumstances.
And after the Heat won Game 2 in San Antonio and got a split on the road, many experts thought the greatest story ever told was a few chapters away from being finished.
Instead, LeBron's worst nightmare is being lived out.
Sure, James has two titles and they can't be taken away from him. He won't go down as the best player ever to never to win big. Plus, he has two and not one title. That takes away the fluke factor.
Still, James wanted to be special, Jordan-like. Don't forget that Jordan won three in a row – twice. MJ was 6-0 in NBA Finals and won all six MVPs.
If James loses here, or should we say when, he will have actually lost more Finals than he won. Three in the L column and just two in the win column.
For sure, it will stop even LeBron fans from putting him in the Jordan conversation of being the greatest of all time.
Not even Melo could help him next year get back into that debate.