The adrenaline still seemed to flow from Dwyane Wade’s veins as he boldly strolled to the podium long after having led the Miami Heat to a convincing 99-90 Game 1 victory over the much despised Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinal round of the NBA Playoffs Sunday.
“We’re going to have to fight for every inch, every game we get,” said Wade, who finished with a game-high 38 points after having averaged just 13 against Boston over four regular season matchups. “Right now, we won Game 1,” added Wade. “We’re supposed to… we’ll go back and focus on winning Game 2. We’re at home, we have home-court advantage. It’s our job to come out with the same mentality in the next one.”
Yet, for all his resolve or heroics, Wade was hardly a one man act for the resurging Heat. Journeyman sharpshooter James Jones netted 25 points---a team postseason record for a reserve--- and LeBron James plugged in with 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
“I know I don’t have to average 35 points against Boston like I have done in the past,” said James. “Stats are good for me individually, but they did not get me anywhere. Nights like this are what I thought about when I made the choice to come to Miami.”
Indeed, the Heat’s laser like intensity in overcoming their arch nemesis made for a heated night in South Beach. Five technicals were assessed on the night, with Boston star Paul Pierce being called for his second (an automatic ejection) with nearly seven minutes remaining after engaging in a staredown and brief shouting match with Wade.
“Every game is going to go like this… and we look forward to the challenge,” said Wade, who dismissed the taunting words he exchanged with Pierce as just “gibberish.”
For Miami fans, it’s just as just as well. The message being sent by the Heat read loud and clear. “We knew coming into the series that there were going to be technicals, there were going to be flagrant fouls,” said James. “Both teams want to win that bad.”
Ray Allen led Boston with 25 points. Game 2 is Tuesday also in Miami. -Glenn Minnis