Am I my brother’s keeper? The pact forged by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James mandates that each man answer that question in the same manner.
And Tuesday night, their burgeoning bond and growing familiarity with one another was truly a thing to behold. Wade scored 16 of his 28 points in the first half and James had his back after intermission, netting 24 of his game-high 35 to lead Miami to a 102-91 win over Boston and a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal round showdown.
“From Day 1 we kind of understood even from our teammates that we are going to be the two guys that everyone looked to see how we reacted to things,” said Wade. “To see how we handled the change, to see how we reacted to playing with each other. We realized that and it is something we communicated and talked about from the beginning.”
Added James: “it’s not a bed of roses with me and Wade and Chris Bosh. We get on each other if we feel like they’re not doing they’re job. We feel like it is constructive criticism that we need to have for one another to have a productive team. “
Against the Celtics, the pair’s actions spoke louder than any words ever could. And early on, it was Wade who served as the catalyst. Just before halftime, he jabbed-stepped his way around Kevin Garnett for a conventional three point play, then added another long ball trey, this time after weaving his way around a stumbling, bumbling Ray Allen to give the Heat a 47-40 halftime cushion.
“This is a great team we are going against right now,” said James, who led the way with 12 points in the third quarter. “We’re just trying to give ourselves a good chance to win, just try to keep on attacking them, playing as hard as we can defensively, just trying to wear them down throughout the game, but that’s a great team.”
Political correctness aside, it hasn’t really mattered over the first two games in South Beach where the Celtics have been outscored by a combined 20 points. The scene shifts to Boston for the next two games and Celts coach Doc Rivers is hoping the change in venue will make for a different result.
“Nothing we can do about it,” Rivers said of the first two games. “We’ve got a third game and we’ve got to take care of that. They’ve won two games at home, now we go home. But we can’t allow them to play like this, or it's going to be tough at our place too."
- Glenn Minnis