The Agony Of Defeat – Are The Miami Heat Choking Away A Championship?

A few weeks ago there were two teams in contention to play the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks. At the time I asked some other Heat fans which of two scenarios would they prefer, play the Thunder, a franchise with no history, and rout them in a sweep or be down against the Mavericks 3 games to 0, in a best of seven series, and be down by 20 points in the fourth quarter, but through a series of boneheaded mistakes by the Mavericks, some heroic shooting by the Heat, and some ludicrously poor officiating have the Miami Heat come back to not only win the game, but also the series. Everyone chose the latter scenario, myself included, but I don’t know if I can handle the ride down even if the Heat get back up.

Five years ago the Miami Heat played these Mavericks in the NBA Finals. The Mavericks were up 2 games to 0, up by 13 points with six minutes to go when Miami Heat coach, Pat Riley called a time out. He did not shout, nor did he scream. He wrote one word on a marker board, “Season”. If they did not fight their way back all the work they put into the interminable NBA season would be for naught. The Heat then went on to play incredible defense and hit a series of clutch shots by every key member of the team capped by a Gary Payton jumper in an exhibition so inspiring I would watch a VHS copy of the game whenever life had me down. 

The Heat went on to win the championship while the Dallas Mavericks imploded. Their star player, Dirk Nowitzki, kicked defenseless exercise machines as he walked from the court after another humiliating loss, coach Avery Johnson made panicky changes, while owner Mark Cuban (pictured above giving Nowitzki a free ride)  was a famously sore loser blaming the referees when his coach’s strategy of purposely fouling Heat center Shaquille O’Neal was what led to other Heat players taking so many free throws. During the Mavericks discombobulation, the Heat were supremely cool. With two chances to secure a championship in Dallas, Pat Riley told his team he only brought one change of clothes on the road trip. He was confident the Heat would close out the mentally weak team their first opportunity and they did.

After Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban’s endless whining I thought it would be sweet payback to have the Heat make him go through such miseries again. Instead his team is inflicting the pain on the Miami Heat. The Mavericks are up 3-2 with two more games to be played in Miami.  Now it is the Heat who are surrendering large fourth quarter leads and the Dallas Mavericks have two chances to close out a championship in enemy territory. Instead of Nowitzki missing free throws, it is Heat star LeBron James mysteriously disappearing in big games. One major difference is that no one on the Heat is crying about the officiating even though the referees call the games as though Mark Cuban gives them horsey rides. This lack of blaming external factors gives me hope the Heat  have the confidence to surmount the long odds against them. 

We have Dallas where we wanted them, but right now my upset stomach and tortured soul would have preferred the sweep.

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4 thoughts on “The Agony Of Defeat – Are The Miami Heat Choking Away A Championship?

  1. Not being a big basketball fan, yet still rooting for the Heat given my Miami ties, I’ve found myself being surprisingly irritated at how incapable the Heat have been at making adjustments to the Mav’s D, especially in the 4th quarter. Even as a layman, it’s frustrating to see how the Mav have been so effective at boxing them out of the paint, which leads them to make these low percentage shots. The ball keeps getting passed around, until the clock almost runs out, then an ugly shot is attempted…All of a sudden 5 minutes passes without a shot completed, and the Mavs go on a 15-2 run. If theyre going to double team Lebron, the open guys need to step up!

    • Welcome to the wonderful world of supporting a team coached by Erik Spoelstra. Pat Riley needs to come down to the bench and save the day. He’d get LeBron playing with more passion.

  2. Someone needs to tell coach that having Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a shooting coach isn’t helping. As much as we keep trying to hit these way-out hook shots, there’s something iffy about getting a 20ft tall rainbow to land in a hoop of gold.

    I keep saying we should just push-in for the easy shot/foul. That’s why we’re on this team. right? But “that’s not what the fans want to see.” So we’re trying for some heroics that Mr. Chiste wants, but it’s hard to win games that way.

    Also, who is this white guy with the aptly numbered “0” shirt? Never saw him at training before.

    However, I think we’ll come through next game. At training today, they had me take a shit on a #23 shirt. I don’t know what that means, but at least we’re not practicing lobs from 30-yards out…

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