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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No party in South Beach

Fans of the Miami Heat need to realize something when it comes to 90 percent of America wanting them to fail, and being overjoyed that it finally happened.

It doesn’t have much to do with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade teaming up instead of wanting to duke it out against each other on the court, which is what each of the game’s past great players would have wanted.  

It has everything to do with the arrogance displayed by the entire team throughout the year.

Starting with the preseason celebration the Heat had, introducing its superstars Wade and James — and no, Chris Bosh isn’t anything other than a slightly above average forward that was a decent player on average-to-bad teams in Toronto — much of the sporting world had crowned the Heat the NBA Champion team in 2011.

Everything that the Heat did this season reeked of entitlement. From ridiculous celebrations to berating reporters for asking questions in a post-game press conference, the Heat gave the impression that the team members thought that they were godly, unworthy of being around us mere mortals.

But after all of that, the Heat’s season came to a fitting end on Sunday.

And the juiciest twist in the plot is that the biggest play for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals was a Wade 3-pointer, which seemed to end Game 2 and deal a massive blow to the Mavericks’ chances of winning a championship.

But then Wade did what the Heat has done all year long — turned the spotlight on himself while trying to embarrass anyone who thought they belonged on the same court as the basketball juggernaut that is the Miami Heat.

When Wade stood in front of the Dallas bench holding his follow-through while James came over to deliver a few playful punches after Wade nailed the shot that gave the Heat a 15-point lead with just over seven minutes to play, it did more than wake up the Mavericks.

It pissed them off.

And that was the last thing a Heat team — with two of the most childish 20-somethings around in Wade and James — needed.

The worst part about the situation is that those two still don’t realize that one play and celebration could have cost them a world championship.

It would be one thing if Wade and James acknowledged that their early celebration had probably lit a fire under the Mavericks. But no, showing the same obliviousness to the outside world as they had all season — except for focusing on their “”haters”” — they acted as if nothing had happened.

But having extra motivation was only a small factor in Dallas’ championship.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle coached circles around Miami’s Erik Spoelstra. Carlisle did something that no other team has done during James’ NBA career — he built his defense around the self-proclaimed king’s offensive ineptitude.

Carlisle dared James to go outside his comfort zone, but as anyone who has paid attention to the NBA Playoffs the last few years should know, LeBron going outside of his comfort zone doesn’t happen.

And for some reason, James’ comfort zone in the playoffs doesn’t get much closer than the three-point line.

Toward the end of the series — after Miami’s talent had gotten the Heat two wins — Carlisle was making moves geared toward winning a championship while Spoelstra just sat to the side and watched.

Instead of trying the same thing over and over again without results — see Spoelstra keeping James in games that he was clearly mentally checked out of — Carlisle switched things up.

He moved several of Dirk Nowitzki’s offensive sets to the left of the free throw line, putting the mentally overloaded Heat in a situation it hadn’t encountered on film.

Then, in his boldest move, Carlisle dared James to post up against J.J. Barea, who is generously listed at 6-foot.

And if James has been in the league for eight years, and doesn’t have the offensive skill set to play in the post against a 6-foot guard, maybe it’s time that people stop anointing him the next Michael Jordan.

You see, it’s not that people hate the thought of two of the game’s best players teaming up. America loves an underdog, but it’s also admirable for someone to admit that he can’t win a championship on his own.

But when that someone (James) doesn’t win a championship after teaming up with another star (Wade), largely in part due to his poor play, and then laughs it off by saying all of his “”haters”” just have to go back to their miserable lives, it’s easy to see why the only people who wanted him to have success reside in South Beach — home of James’ “”talents.””

 

Alex Williams is the sports editor of the Arizona Summer Wildcat. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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