The opening sequence of last night’s NBA finals game against the San Antonio Spurs summed up the Miami Heat’s 2013 season under the big three of Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
An electrifying dunk by Dwyane Wade followed by nine unanswered points and then a grinding hustle to get back in the game. We, as fans, must live and die with the unremitting arc of sports narrative and the sorrowful nosedives of emotion. The 2013 Miami Heat are like Agony and Ecstasy coming over for a dinner party to your apartment.
Last night, we all felt a queasy gut wrench when Tony Parker’s floating bank shot fell in with a comically absurd 0.0000001 seconds left on the shot clock at the end of the game. We saw the squalid abyss of game one home-loss-misery. And it hurt. It was an unbelievable shot.
Ugh. How is it possible for the best player in the world to get a triple-double and we still lose?
I have been a Heat fan since Rony Seikaly. When I was 9 years old, that awe inspiring Lebanese man wore his Miami Heat jersey like the toga of a lesser but still likeable god. It gets under my skin when people complain about Heat fans. But the national news narrative doesn’t care about me. I just wish we could all agree that every team has crap fans and every team has ones that actually care.
I have stuck with this team through some weird stuff. Remember watching Malik Allen occasionally dunk? The games during those slough years was like trying to light a match in a typhoon. You knew nothing would ever happen. Those were cold and lonely times.
Immediately after the game one loss last night, Twitter was aflame with reasons why the Heat are a sinking ship not worth saving. Lebron is passive! Amnesty Bosh! Trade Wade! This is the prattle of either drunk and/or insane people. Irrational passion is not what’s needed. It is our third finals in three years. This is still the best team in the league and they are a blessing. It is a once in a lifetime fan opportunity to have a franchise so dominant. In the face of every loss we must remember this.
But because of the highs and lows, we act crazy when this team falters. There are real reasons why the Heat lost.
Tony Parker, and most of the rest of the Spurs roster were able to create space on offense that the Heat usually never allow. San Antonio only turned the ball over four times. Tim Duncan maintained dominance on both sides of the rim. And in the 4th quarter the Heat looked like they’d all run Pamplona twice. They also did that thing with 5 minutes left where competitive basketball is replaced by missed shots and giraffe baby-esque turnovers. The Heat played the game at their pace the whole time, and it’s a pace we’ve never been beat at. We were just beat. I want to believe it won't happen four more times in seven games.
But man that shot was brutal.
We can sit in the rancid stew of sorrow this game one brought, or we can have faith that the Heat can get back into these 2013 finals. Don't let ESPN and the rest of sports media poison you before Sunday's game. This team is righteous, and they will bounce back.