The text came from Kid Sheraton Tuesday afternoon.
I can get tickets for tomorrow night’s Heat game if you’re free.
Oh, how I love good news. First task at hand: control giddiness. Task two: get karaoke night covered. Done! Thanks, Joseph. Task three: pack camera, laptop, golf clubs, vitamins, poker skills for potential casino visit, white shirt to fit in. Check to all of the above.
The Heat had already beaten the Boston Celtics in Game One, giving those of us who watched the impression they were on the verge of greatness… and the NBA Finals. Without putting the cart in front of the horse, LeBron’s and Wade’s last few games leads us to believe they had finally turned a corner and could potentially control the league for years to come.
After watching LeBron go for 32 in Game One and seeing both he and Wade combine for 197 points in their final three games against the Pacers (that’s good!), the four hour drive from Tampa to Miami left me wondering what we were in store for Tuesday night. A 40-point performance? Fifty, perhaps? Certainly Boston’s defense wouldn’t allow that to happen. But we’re slowly learning that anything is possible when Wade and James step on the floor.
Regardless of the outcome, two things were certain. Miami did not want to let Boston back in the series and Kid Sheraton and I would be regular customers at the arena bar.
As it turned out, someone did score forty Tuesday night, but he wasn’t wearing a Miami uniform.
The Heat came out sluggish, shooting 25% from the floor for most of the first half, simultaneously allowing Boston to score at will. Wade was even held scoreless until the final seconds of the first half. Were it not for Miami’s role players, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers, Boston’s double-digit, first-half lead would have been much larger. Still the white-clad Miami crowd remained positive.
Chalmers led Miami with 14 points at intermission. His counterpart at point guard, Rajon Rondo, was having the game of his life, finishing the first half with 22. Boston led by seven heading into the locker room.
Wade finally came alive in the third, scoring 12. After being down by as many as 15, the Heat had finally regained the lead. Miami had played horribly yet were still seemingly in the game throughout. Miami knew it. Boston knew it. Everyone in the arena knew it. The once-silenced crowd was ready for a comeback. When the Heat gained the first lead of the second half off a Haslem layup, I thought my eardrums were going to explode.
Every time the Heat added to their lead, which got as high as eight, the crowd got wilder. Victory was in sight. A LeBron block of Paul Pierce, which resulted in a Wade fastbreak the other way, not only made a statement, it exemplified the difference in age and athleticism between the teams’ key players.
Then, Miami sputtered and Boston regained new confidence. Boston took the lead back with seven to play. The crowd became nervous once again; the game a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Miami’s biggest weakness this post-season has been its offensive complacency. In the fourth, Wade had once again gone cold. The Heat resorted to taking bad shots while Boston continued to get looks they wanted. The crowd ebbed and flowed with each lead change.
With three minutes left in the game and Boston up by three, Kid Sheraton looked at me and said “This game has overtime written all over it.” I had been thinking the exact same thing.
It was to be.
After Miami went back up by two with under two to play, Wade missed the front end of his pair of three throws causing every Heat fan in the arena to fear the inevitable Ray Allen three-pointer, which he eventually hit. One errant LeBron jumper with time expiring and the gods had given us free basketball.
99-99 at the end of regulation and the Dewars’ Clubhouse after-party would have to wait at least five more minutes. At least we were getting our money’s worth.
Boston led by two with two to play in overtime, but in the end, even Rondo’s 44 points were not enough to tame the Heat.
Miami emerged victorious after a game which lasted over three hours. The after-party had begun, both inside the stadium and out. Whoever accused Miami sports fans of not being dedicated has obviously not been to a playoff game at American Airlines Arena. Music blasted, people danced, the shouts of “Let’s Go Heat” echoed loudly along Biscayne Boulevard. The Heat are now two wins away from a return to the Finals with more than just losing on their minds.
A late sushi dinner and casino trip later, Kid Sheraton and I were cashed. The emotions of the game had worn us down. I can’t even imagine how Rondo felt, who played all fifty-three minutes. To call that game epic might be an exaggeration but we were fortunate enough to witness perhaps the best, or at least the most emotional, game of the 2012 playoffs.
The Heat can take comfort in the fact that, even after playing sub-par basketball by their standards, they still defeated a gritty, veteran Celtics team. If they’re lucky enough to get past them, however, there’s another veteran team out in Texas that might not be so forgiving.
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And it was an amazing game… so glad the SC & KS were able to be there … how exciting that must have been! And that stadium looks pretty nice too.
Were they dancing in the streets after the game? I’m sure you 2 were :}
Safe travels SC. Great post.
Very well written my friend. The only negative in the account is the late night Sushi dinner. You sure know how to live life on the edge.
Lucky you. Took Celtics in the 2ndH for a herring and lost. Celts played as well as they cudda. Those Miami chants of “Let’s Go Heat” will turn into “Beat the Heat” tomorrow in Beantown. Somehow I think the C’s are still in it.
Do you notice during time-outs and idle sideline shots that the Celtics appear to bond well with their coach Rivers? A complete opposite on the Miami side. Could it be that the 2 primadonnas are uncoachable? Just maybe Rivers’ prior NBA service might trump Spol’s former game film expertise.
I have no personal NBA team favorites, but if they continue to put out a product like last night I’ll watch more live games. You made a score attending that game.
I much prefer reading your write-ups of the games than ESPN or Yahoo news. You have such a talent for writing.
Since my son is now in South America and I gave up the Magic tickets, i haven’t followed the NBA this year. There is life after basketball!!!!
You lucky man!
The thing everyone is talking about is that the refs didn’t call Wade on a foul of Rondo in OT.
I’ve heard stuff like rigged, worst call in history but it was just a missed call at a bad time (I guess that can happen).
What was Bron doing on that game winning shot? Rondo guarding him and he pulls up fadeaway?
Boston needed that game (similarly OKC needed game 1), but it seems inevitable now the Heat are moving on and facing the Spurs.
Thanks and yes, he beat me at golf the following day.
But you’ll have to ask him about the rake and the subsequent asterisk.
Had I been younger, I’m sure we would have hit South Beach, or strip clubs, or something like that… but Kid Sheraton has a wife and beautiful, seven-year old twins to come home to… and me, well, even I’ve slowed down in my own right.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I picked the Heat from the get-go and am not jumping off that bandwagon now, but you bring up an interesting dynamic.
Look, it wasn’t all that long ago (okay, maybe 30 years) when a young Pat Riley took over a Los Angeles Lakers team full of egos… and talent. That guy ended up going down as one of the greatest coaches ever. He likes Spoelstra. We’re left to trust that blessing.
Wade and James run the Heat, just as Magic and Kareem did the Lakers. These days, players react to a game that’s now more about reflexes and reaction than ever before.
Spo is just there to keeps heads in check. So far, so good.
We’ll see what happpens if, and when, he goes against Greg Popovich.
I am lucky. No doubt about it. And don’t think I don’t know that.
On our way to the golf course today, Kid Sheraton and I heard Bill Simmons on local, Miami radio complain about calls going the other way. Funny to hear a Celtics homer play that card.
And yes, we all watched as LeBron could have taken that final shot to the rack, sealed the deal with a better shot or at least a foul, which would have sent Simmons deeper into depression and certainly, more complaining.
Shots like that come every so often. He was barely squared and fading to his right. Not something that’s going to get calls… or win ballgames either.
Explain to me how Rajon Rondo is the only Celtics’ player playing with any passion on this team ? I know Pierce , All and Garnett collectively are almost as old as a vintage Model T . But Christ almighty can’t they show some pride ?
I trust you raised a glass in my honor by shedding a drop of Grey Goose ? You gotta roll like that ……… ain’t ya ?
Sloppy play by the Spurs last night with all of those turnovers . Crazy night in OKC though , but this series is still within Pops players’ grasp .
Great write-up. I must admit after sitting through the series with the Sixers I almost want to write the NBA and ask “for my money back” for if Boston had extended 1/2 the effort shown in their Game 2 with the Heat in ANY of the games they lost to Philadelphia they would have dispatched the Sixers several days earlier than they eventually did…and looked better doing it. They were playing awful basketball entering the Miami series. Awful. Then again, they obviously knew being down 2-0 to the Heat was a far worse fate and threw all they really could summon at Miami to then try to square the series. Glad you had a great time.
Unlike the Boston-Miami series, I felt OKC could win games at home. That fan base is rabid and that building appears to be pretty loud. We’ll see what happens in Game Four.
If it goes seven, that can only benefit the Heat, no?
We most definitely did.
In retrospect, that’s a game Boston will tell themselves they should have won.
They better put it behind them though. Game Three is tonight and they can ill afford going down 3-0.
Excellent, except for when you wrote “Wade missed the front end of his pair of three throws.” That made me think that Wade had three FT attempts, not two.
The series ‘tween the Celtics now becomes either a game of chicken or one of chess . Either way you look at the “loser” will have some difficult decisions to make in the off-season . While you were down there on South Beach aka Sodom & Gomorrah … did you take in a visit to either Liberty City or Overtown . I got some homeys down there who’ve done time and are about to do some time in the imminent future .
Sloppy ball handling leading to the ” turnovers “ were the main culprits in the Spurs losing game three in the series .
One game doesn’t a series make </i and as a fan of the NBA would you bet against Popovich after what just happened ? Think about it .
Perhaps I should have worded that differently, like Wade missing the first of his two free throws.
Either way, his making only one let the Celtics back in it.
After the first two games, Al, a lot of people were counting out Boston.
I do think Miami will win the series but it’ll take a while. Boston’s too proud a team, and too good for that matter, to go down easily.
Miami best not take them lightly.
Same thing with the Thunder, Al.
I think the Spurs have it but they can’t take their foot off the pedal.
The last thing they want is to be surprised by OKC.
We could be looking at two seven-gamers.
Cleveland is still bitching about the defection of LBJ. They still have an up and coming star to be proud of. Check this clip out and enjoy.
I saw that Kyrie Irving clip on another website. Very nicely done, huh?
And I have a funny story for ya’.
If you ever want to get under a Cleveland sports fan’s skin, not that that’s all that difficult, just say the word LeBron.
It was closing time at the bar the other night and some dude was outside, drunk but trying to sober up, bitching about the Browns.
Needless to say, I brought up the Heat and LeBron and the guy went on a lengthy, profanity-laced tirade about how he hopes LeBron goes his entire career without winning a title.
It was quite entertaining.
Like the Haley Joel Osment character from ‘The Sixth Sense’ .. I see dead people in both of these series as it relates to the Heat and Spurs .
The Idiot Balked I Tell You …. Don’t Call Bud Selig An Idiot …..
Heavy Is The Head That Wears The Crown …
It’s Better To Have Loved Than Lost , Than Not To Have Loved At All …. Or To Paraphrase ………. Just Win Baby !
The Queen celebrated her sixtieth anniveersary on the throne . Hell , I don’t even spend that much time in terms of minutes talking to my ex . LOL,LOL ,LOL !!!
I’m way behind on my reading but am slowly catching up.
And as far as the Queen’s birthday, I’ll celebrate it by having a drink.
Oh wait, I was gonna do that anyway.
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