About three and a half quarters into Game 5, the narrative was already written for the night: the Indiana Pacers may not be able to stop falling apart, but it’s obvious that the Miami Heat cannot get out of their own way.
They didn’t give off the impression that they wanted to play after the tip and force-fed the rock to Dwyane Wade, who scored 12 of the team’s first 14 points and 20 in the first half. I guess us critics finally poked the bear enough until he woke up. But, for a while, he was stuck doing everything. LeBron James even said that Wade had to tell him to “stop waiting and be aggressive.”
The entire night felt like the Brooklyn Nets were going to guarantee a Game 6 — something that James and Wade’s giddy postgame giggles seemed to signal that they wanted no part of.
I’m no body language expert, but everything about them said that they were relieved to escape this one. And although Miami may never admit it, they were just as happy to — potentially — close the casket on Kevin Garnett’s career and send Paul Pierce to his next free agent destination as they were to move on.
The only thing better was watching Ray Allen’s late-game three be the shot that buried his critical ex-teammates, followed by free throws and two strips of Joe Johnson. However, with a fourth straight trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on deck and a matchup with the Washington Wizards or Pacers looming, it would be nice if the Heat did not show up later than their tardy crowd.