I would love to say the Miami Heat’s Jekyll-and-Hyde act started when Ray Allen could no longer make free throws, but their ups and downs began way before that — during what I call the winning streak chronicles.
While everyone was celebrating Miami’s good fortune, some of us were realizing their ability to jump in and out of character. Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs was no different.
“I think that we’ve had some games where we’ve played unbelievable basketball, and I think we’ve had games where we haven’t,” Dwyane Wade said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We would love to be a little more consistent with it.”
This time, their inconsistencies were different though. They did things in reverse.
Their offense was flowing, their defense was moving and their snipers were on target (minus Shane Battier). I would usually complain about the Heat’s lack of energy but Thursday night they came out high-powered. Then Miami’s coach Erik Spoelstra got uncomfortable — or perhaps too comfortable.
He waited until the NBA Finals to start doing things that he hadn’t done in the postseason.
There was the 11-man rotation, the extended Joel Anthony minutes and worse of all sitting Wade and LeBron James like he wanted to give Chris Bosh a chance to shine — all regularseason adjustments.
Coach made it to the championship and tripped himself up, trying to out strategize the mind-game master on the other sideline. But after two days of Spoelstra abuse, James revealed how he ended up on the bench during Wade’s fourth quarter break.
“I had been accustomed to being able to start the fourth but the third quarter was so — I was in the paint, defensive rebounding, I was closing out Kawhi Leonard on shooters,” James said via ESPN.com. “It took all in the tank from me in the third quarter. So I needed a little breather.”
Suddenly, Miami’s fourth quarters began to look like their first quarters — like they were feeling things out while the Spurs crisp ball movement carved up the their slow rotating defense.
With any luck, the Heat won’t come out in Game 2 like a team coming off vacation or better yet won’t end like a team that got beat up for seven games series.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.