Up by 15 points and clicking on all cylinders with seemingly just a few suspense free minutes remaining, the Miami Heat abruptly came face-to-face with the only foe capable of raining on their South Beach parade Thursday night. Themselves.
And by the time Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and crew ceased basking in the brilliance of their first forty minutes, the workmen like Dallas Mavs had coyly managed to steal all their applause--- not to mention Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
The series is now tied at 1-1 heading to Game 3 in Dallas Sunday night, and the burning question is which Heat team will make the trip to the Alamo state---- and stick around.
"We'll be fine" said James. "It hurts right now because it's right now, but we'll be fine. We're competitors and we feel we can win every game. That's how much confidence we have in ourselves. All this talk about not respecting our opponent enough and everything is just that... talk."
Yeah, yeah, maybe. But you don't need Joakim Noah to tell you the Heat can be be "Hollywood as hell," when the eyes of the nation appear adoringly cast in their direction.
Take Wade's statuesque, extended-moment-in-time, flick-of-the-wrist pose following his dagger like three from deep in the left corner that gave the Heat a 88-73 lead with just over seven minutes remaining. And if that wasn't celebratory themed enough, James' flurry of shadow boxing knockout blows in its wake--- all in the direction of the Mavs' bench--- sealed the deal.
"I think it angered a lot of us," said Mavs center Tyson Chandler. "When you got a guy showboating in front of your bench with seven minutes remaining, all the music and dancing and that kind of stuff, you say, 'I don't care what they say, the game is not over.'"
But of coarse, scene grabbers that they are, the Heat would have the last word. "
A celebration is confetti, champagne bottles," said Wade. "That was no celebration. It's just being excited about the moment. Every team has some sort of signal for when they make big plays."--- Glenn Minnis