There are a lot of people who think that LeBron having the nickname “King James” was a bit presumptuous. Dwyane Wade decided that he didn’t really want to be called “Flash” anymore, since that moniker was bestowed upon him by the recently retired Shaquille O’Neal, who left the Heat just as he has left many of his former teams, with a bad aftertaste. Sorry DWade, but “Flash” will always fit you very well. LeBron on the other hand will probably never truly reign supreme and therefore never really live up to the title of King. He is Scottie Pippen, but better. James is a very valuable piece to a team that will almost certainly win multiple championships, even if they should fall short this year. Wade, who could carry a royal title in South Florida without any type of credibility problem, is the captain of this ship and the most important player for the Heat in this NBA Finals rematch with the Mavericks.
Sunday night in Dallas, Miami faced real pressure for the first time during their playoff run. On Thursday night the Heat gave up a 15 point lead to the Mavericks with less than seven minutes left, lost the game, and surrendered the home-court advantage for the series to Dallas. In the days leading up to Game 3, all of the players talked about being more aggressive. Then D3 came out and defined aggressive with his play in the first half. He went for 19 points in the first two quarters and was living up to the “Flash” character seen in the 2006 Finals, relentlessly driving into the paint and finishing at the cup. Several times the Heat built up a lead only to see the Mavs erase it. Dirk Nowitzki continues to be a major problem for the Heat defense. The seven foot German finished with a game-high 34 points. In the final minutes, Dirk and Dwyane traded buckets while each tried to lead their team to a win and a 2-1 series lead.
Miami won the game when Chris Bosh hit an open jumper to put the Heat up by two and Dirk Nowitzki missed what would have been a game-tying field goal at the buzzer. Bosh had looked tentative for most of the game, but didn’t hesitate this time when he got the ball. Bron also seemed to be a little passive towards the end of the game. DWade ended up with 29 points and 11 rebounds, but it was his aggressive play that set the tone for the Heat. Miami also had important contributions from guys like Mario Chalmers(12 points) and Udonis Haslem. They won as a team, but there should be no question as to who the leader of that team is. The folks at ESPN may want it to be LeBron James, but it is Dwyane Wade. The national media in general have propped up LBJ as the teams leader, but with the exception of Michael Wilbon, ESPN has been the worst as far as downplaying how good D3 is and where his rank is among the NBA’s elite. Stuart Scott led in to the halftime talking about LeBron, his 10 points, 2 assists, and one monster(or stinky) dunk. Wade’s 19 points, 6 rebounds, and aggressive takeover of the game were apparently not worthy of mentioning until later. I almost felt like a democrat watching Fox News.
There is good news for the Mavericks. They get to play two more games in Dallas. The bad news is that they really have to win both to have a realistic shot at the title. Maybe even worse for the Mavs is that DWade seems to have regained the form that took them down five years ago. He might never want to call himself King, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind wearing the crown of NBA Champion once again.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).