The Miami Heat got Thunder’d by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Much like Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals where Oklahoma City was up by 15 with five minutes to play and lost 112-105 in overtime, the Heat also blew a 15-point lead. Miami was up 88-73 after Dwyane Wade’s corner three pointer but ended up losing 95-93. His celebrated in front of the Mavericks bench apparently irked Dallas. Here’s a video of the play courtesy of Eye on Basketball:
Two Mavericks players said that the celebration by Wade ticked them off and inspired their 22-5 run to close the game. Tyson Chandler said Wade’s antics “angered a lot of [the Mavericks]” because it happened right in front of their bench.
Jason Terry said, “Right at that moment, it was a turning point in the game. Obviously we come out of that timeout and we don’t score, then we’re pretty much dead … I specifically looked at Dirk and said, ‘There’s no way we’re going out like this.’”
Alright, so we know from Dallas’ perspective that the three-pointer and celebration bothered them, but what about from Miami’s side? Was Wade’s reaction any different from his typical behavior? Did the Heat celebrate after that three like the game was over?
I say the celebration was pretty standard for a big play. You see that type of behavior from guys all the time. In that sense, no, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. However, I do believe Miami began to play differently after that point. They began holding the ball longer on offensive possessions and didn’t attack the hoop. They started missing open shots which they hadn’t done all game. Missing the shots doesn’t have anything to do with the celebration, but I do believe they changed their game after being up by 15, relaxing on both ends of the court.
As for the celebration talk, Wade brushed it aside. “First of all, every team in the League when they go on a run, they do something. Whether it’s signal, chest bump — it’s a part of the game of basketball. A celebration is confetti, a celebration is champagne bottles — that was no celebration,” Wade asserted. “It was a shot made going into a timeout — every team does something — that’s the game. So if it pumped them up, they won the game. Obviously it did something.”
“But that’s not the first time, it won’t be the last time [we celebrate a big play]. Don’t make nothing out of that celebration like you guys did in the Boston series,” Wade warned. “It’s just being excited about the moment, it had nothing to do with the outcome of the game for us.”
Both Wade and LeBron ultimately blamed the loss on the team’s defensive lapse down the stretch. Wade pointed out that they didn’t have to score another point as long as they did their job defensively. He’s right about that, but I will say this: the Heat changed after going up 15 and backed off. The celebration was ordinary, but something inspired the Mavs and it’s quite possible that’s what did it. The Heat won’t change, but next time they should be more careful with their leads.Google+