After the Miami Heat had put away Game Two in overtime – seemingly – Rajon Rondo buried two threes with such ridiculous confidence that it was as if the ghost of Larry Bird was possessing him. Crazy and unbelievable. The man could not miss and you have to hand it to him for having the guts to take and make shots that are far, far out of his comfort zone. His second OT 3, with the game out of reach showed how desperate he was to win. He never gives up. Ever. After playing every single minute of the game and OT, he was burying threes with no time left. Given that he played last years series with one arm, Rondo is showing again how much of a big time player he is.
While Rondo showed guts and moxie, on the other side of the ball it was pure luck that carried the Heat through a very, very, very sloppy game. LeBron could not shoot. Wade could not hit free throws. LeBron missed a good luck with the buzzer sounding…but…I take some comfort in the fact that he did not hesitate to take the shot. Baby steps. Next time we will discuss how he could have taken the fraction of his size Rondo to the hoop and easily won the game, but again, baby steps.
As for Wade, at one point I said to my lovely girlfriend “its a good thing he made the ridiculously difficult hoop since he will not hit the free throw”. How infuriating is it to watch Wade and LeBron play as passively as they do when it is clear they can dominate when they want to. Now is the time to put Boston away, not to sit back.
For large swaths of the game the Heat seemed to be treating it like a weekend pickup game in the Hamptons. the energy and focus they displayed previously was missing. They have to regain that focus to close out the series in Boston.
Because if they do get through they will run into one of the fifteen best teams in NBA History, who are handily destroying the second best team in the playoffs (and seemingly toying with them). I badly underestimated the Spurs. Very, very badly underestimated them. How are they keeping their vets healthy? The “Moses Malone” strategy seems to be in play. Yes, the Spurs are employing the extremely rare “fo fo fo fo” style. This “sweep everyone including the ridiculously good Thunder” game plan is allowing Tim Duncan to play like he has been to Kobe’s doctor and helping keep the pass happy Spurs fresh. They just might be one of the fifteen best teams ever and in the playoffs they have lived up to their billing.
Before the postseason started I was extremely guilty of underestimating San Antonio. I remembered the team that was humiliated by the Grizzlies last year, not the team led by one of the six best players ever (Duncan), a frenchman playing out of his mind post-divorce (Parker), the greasiest player ever (Manu) and one of the five best coaches ever (Pops). Can anyone stop this team?
Game two of Miami – Boston will eventually get steady rotation on ESPN as a classic, but the Heat rarely played it that way. They need to step it up if they are going to have the honor of being swept by the Spurs.