The reason Jimmy Butler drives the lane seems dispositional, like there are points about his manhood he cannot prove out there, beyond the defense as opposed to within it, twisting through its undergrowth, absorbing its trials and terrors and going to the line for one more. Everything with Jimmy is polemical. With each on-court action he builds a more irrefutable self. He is the kind of guy who takes it to the rack. He is also simply not a very good three-point shooter. That brick he threw up at the end of Game 7, with 18 seconds left and Kyle Lowry giving better closing minutes than he had, will live in his memory forever, but it's hard to say that it will bother him. Did he act out of character? (Is everything with Jimmy retroactively in character? Does he elide all contradictions, like arms failing to clutch him as he works the midrange?) Perhaps a pull-up three was what he had legs left to launch, and one more charge at the rim was out of the question. Deferring certainly was.

Anyway, it was a bad shot. Not audacious, just bad. He will take no lesson from it, and no work will fix it. He already gets up to go to the gym at three in the morning, to tell you he's there. When I was 19—when I was 24, when I was 30...—I did a lot of dumb, mortifying stuff. I labor now, sometimes at three in the morning, trying to make that right, like if I go about the task of writing earnestly and stubbornly enough, the hideous past will unblemish, or become a necessary part of my eventual triumph. It would be easier, if not easy, to just stop doing dumb stuff. Jimmy probably doesn't worry like this, but a guy who needs to announce that he was in the lab while the rest of the world slept isn't worry-free either.

Something in Bam Adebayo may have broken, or he found some part of himself wanting, the knowledge of which threw off the balance of his entire game. He wasn't bad throughout the series—his Game 3 performance was excellent—but he was often aloof. The problem with Bam is that he will not allow himself to fail. He is Wade Boggs spitting on pitches that aren't right where he's looking. He is Hong Sang-soo staging another boozy scene where two people can't talk to each other. His register is limited. If he can't go 9-for-13, he doesn't want to play. He'll set screens and move the ball. This is admirable, but a refusal to win ugly can render him invisible, especially against high-energy playoff defenses. The quiet nights compound, and suddenly this ceaselessly competitive athletic freak who can do it all seems not much more useful than a dozen other also-ran big men.

Erik Spoelstra is so smart. How do you get something out of Bam when he's questioning himself? You have him play in a fashion where he doesn't have space to think. Go clean the glass. Get putbacks and trips to the stripe. Push the opponent around and rediscover that you are powerful and rugged and difficult to deal with. Bam had 25, 11, and 4 in Game 7. He did well, while doubts still linger about whether he can assert himself in every big contest, bring to bear the full array of skills he has developed, and not just the knack for positioning and brawny paint play that made him a late lottery selection five years ago.

Kyle Lowry is fine. He stepped out in a closeout Finals tilt, laid it in and drilled a few threes, and let the 11 quick points he tallied provide the momentum for Toronto's title. He has nothing left to prove or resolve. Miami is not his city. He is a gracious transient chipping in, at the dive five neighborhoods from his own posted up with a magazine, adding color. His body had about 15 good minutes in it, and he gave it at exactly the right time in Game 7, threw himself across the floor and onto it, consumed a Boston lead that didn't seem like it would get down to less than seven or eight. The way that Lowry succeeds is not overwhelming, especially at age 36, but it is an impossible and inevitable phenomenon, like how friendships and canyons form. He almost won that game by navigating its vents.

There is no great power in the NBA right now. The Warriors who seem poised to batter a worn out Celtics squad are an echo of what they were several years ago. This is the sort of window through which a team like the Heat, who are mortally heroic, might have slipped. When Jimmy heaved that doomed, cannoning jumper he saw six or seven games into the future, kissing the trophy and cussing out doubters imagined and real. He lives in that dream perpetually, but it never felt closer at hand—were the Heat really going to beat the Lakers in Orlando?—than it was when in one motion he collected the rebound and decided to end the series his way. That the dream flickered into delusion and went dark is almost irrelevant. Almost.