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Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra Believe Early Season Struggles Helped Miami Heat

After a long regular season that included enormous amounts of hate and ridicule, the Miami Heat have reached the NBA Finals. It was an enduring and humbling journey for Miami, especially if you look back at their gaudy team introductions for their first home game of the season. They started off slowly and looked foolish when Chris Bosh admitted he was lost in the offense. Opposing owners celebrated their early-season struggles. They were widely mocked for crying following a March loss. But now we’re starting to see that all those issues helped lead them to become a Finals-bound team. At least that’s what Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra say.

After the Game 5 close out win, Dwyane Wade said the early-season struggles helped build the team. “Right off the bat, beginning of the year, starting off 9-8, we all said in the locker room ‘We start off 17-0, 16-1, that’s not the best thing for this team.’ We needed to go through something, we needed to look ourselves in the mirror and see if we were really committed to this,” Wade explained. “After that 9-8 start, we showed we were committed to it and ever since then we’ve been fighting it out.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra expressed the same sentiment in his postgame press conference.

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Dwyane Wade: Carlos Boozer Pre-Series Comment Motivated Chris Bosh

Before the Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference Finals series began, Chicago forward Carlos Boozer reportedly said the Miami Heat only had two great players. Most people perceived the comment as a slight against Chris Bosh who is the third wheel of Miami’s “Big Three.” Boozer didn’t admit to the comment when pressed later on in the series, but the damage had already been done; Chris Bosh was pissed off and used it as motivation. At least that’s what Dwyane Wade says.

When asked if Boozer’s comment motivated Bosh at all, Wade said after Game 3 “He hasn’t brought it up to us but we understand when something is said public about you that way, any great player is going to respond in a way. I was glad he said that about Chris because he came in with a different focus every day,” Wade said. “From practice, shootaround to the games, Chris had that same focus. We saw that [Sunday] morning at shootaround, everything he did tonight he was doing today. We’re glad he got that challenge, he’s responding to it.”

“We’ll see, hopefully at the end of the series maybe they’ll say something different about him. We understand what he means to us and that’s all that matters,” Wade continued.

We always say that players should play their best no matter the situation, but sometimes disparaging comments can serve as motivation. It sure seems like that’s been the case for Chris Bosh, because he’s been playing lights out for Miami. Maybe Boozer has learned his lesson to keep his mouth shut next time, or back up his mouth on the court.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Taj Gibson Dunk on Dwyane Wade (Video) and Putback Dunk to End Game

Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson set the internet on fire with a monster dunk on Dwyane Wade during Game 1 Sunday. Check out this video Gibson posterizing Wade:

We’ve seen some monster dunks throughout the playoffs, namely Kobe’s dunk on Emeka Okafor during the first round of the playoffs, but this is probably the best of the bunch. Now you might have figured Gibson would have been done at that point, but that wasn’t the case. Check out his spectacular putback at the end of the game:

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Dwyane Wade Does Cabbage Patch Dance (Video) After Dunk on Kendrick Perkins

The Miami Heat’s mini run of blowing teams out of the water came to and end Wednesday night when they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder at home.  The loss proved the Heat still have plenty to work on, but that didn’t stop Dwyane Wade from making sure the fans got somewhat of a show.  His monster dunk on Kendrick Perkins, which was followed by the Cabbage Patch dance, was probably worth the price of admission to some. Check out the video, courtesy of SI Hot Clicks:

Hey, it certainly beats Tom Brady’s ponytail dance.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Have Struggled in the Clutch, Stats Confirm

The Miami Heat have two of the best closers in the game today in Dwyane Wade and LeBron James yet they struggle to maintain late leads and close out games.  This is counterintuitive considering how great both LeBron and Dwyane have been throughout their careers in the “clutch.” Their struggles have played out in front of millions and they need to correct this if they ever want to win the NBA Championship.

The 4th quarter collapse to the Orlando Magic Thursday night summed up Miami’s struggles this season. The Heat was up as much as 24 points in the 3rd quarter but they allowed a 22-7 run to the Magic. From that point, you could see the train wreck developing in slow-motion. Miami carried a 9-point lead into the 4th but you could see the twist at the end developing. This game was building up to be a culmination of Miami’s season long struggles. You knew that at one point, LeBron was going to get a chance to take a game winning or saving shot and that he was going to come up short.

And it played out exactly like that.

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LeBron James Dunks on Dwyane Wade (Video)

Don’t worry, that headline isn’t a typo nor is it the product of a play that happened in years past. LeBron James dropped 41 points on the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night. Two of them hit Dwyane Wade square in the face. Check out the video of LeBron dunking on Dwyane Wade:

I guess the guy really is an a-hole.  LeBron already intentionally bumped his own coach earlier this year, now he’s dunking on his own teammates? That’s definitely a new low.  Thanks to talkhoops for the video.

Dwyane Wade Jokes that Phil Jackson Would Like to Coach Miami Heat

During an interview that aired on ESPN Thursday, Dwyane Wade joked that Lakers coach Phil Jackson wants to coach the Miami Heat. Wade was responding to a question from reporter Rachel Nichols about why Phil Jackson talks so much about the Heat when he jokingly replied. My answer to Nichols would have been because he’s asked about them frequently, as is anyone associated with the NBA. Wade’s response was much more attention-grabbing.

Wade joked “I think he wants to coach the Heat when he gets done with the Lakers.” Wade had a smile on his face and was laughing when he said it, but he said “he can’t coach us,” pointing out that the team already has a coach.

While there’s no implication that this would ever happen or that Phil has interest in the situation, I do believe there is truth in everything that is said. Given Phil’s reputation for solely coaching teams stacked with talent (e.g. Michael Jordan’s Bulls, Kobe and Shaq’s Lakers, Kobe and Pau’s Lakers), he’s one of the first names that would arise as a coach who could take on the project of coaching Miami’s team. Adding to Wade’s speculation is the understanding that Jackson will be retiring after the year, which has been a question for several years.

The Heat are doing fine with Erik Spoelstra, and it’s highly unlikely Pat Riley would ever hire one of his biggest rivals. If anything, this just goes to show that everyone knows Phil Jackson’s MO; he only coaches talented teams.