Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wade Has His Willis Reed Moment

"Tonight we felt a little bit of pressure and once Dwayne went down, it was a shock." -- Pat Riley

The air was sucked out of the AAA with 2:30 left before the end of the first half. Dwayne Wade was lying on the ground, writhing in pain and holding his leg.

What made the scene more infuriating was the fact that no foul had been called. The fans all around us were going nuts -- Thunderdome style. I was very sure the Heat faithful were about to riot. The first one to get the vicious beat down from a stampeeding crowd would be the Bulls, starting with that Nocioni dude -- just because he's the AJ Pyrzinksi of basketball. Then, of course, would be the refs.

We were all pretty much convinced that the series was over. Watching Wade being carried off the court was probably the most helpless feeling we've had as a sports town since Dan Marino was carried off the field in Cleveland with his torn achilles tendon.

In a moment like that, the darkness envelops you and sucks all the life out of you. And what was at one moment a fun, racous night at an NBA playoff game, suddenly becomes a blanket of dreaded emptiness. We lost our MVP... We've lost the season... Hope his injury isn't career threatening... How much are the Bulls going to win by tonight?...I wish I wasn't a sports fan! You just become irrational. That's how important a star like Dwayne Wade is to your franchise.

The Bulls felt it, and acted accordingly. They went after the Heat and eventually took a 55-50 lead in the second, hitting on every shot, getting all the calls and exploiting the deflated Heat players. It was the first time they'd led all night.

Then, during a long TV timeout, with 5:50 remaining in the third ... you heard the low rumble coming from the Heat-side bench. The crowd started to make noise ... people started pointing ... Is that?? ... IT IS!

D-Wade had snuck into the Heat huddle and as soon as the AAA saw that, the ovation was deafening. The walls shook, ears split and hearts gushed. Hope came flooding back into our once blackened souls. Emotions spilled over. Even those damn clackers that they handed out weren't so annoying anymore. And when Wade hobbled onto the court, even though he was clearly in pain ... we just knew ... NO WAY WE'RE LOSING THIS GAME.

He immediately hit two free throws and a jumper to end the 3rd, giving the Heat a 57-55 lead. Then, he hit a jumper over Luol Deng to spark a 10-0 run by Miami. He threw up a vicious alley-oop to Shaq who preceded to smash it down while the crowd roared like ten thousand lions.

There was blood on the court.

We could all smell it.

It was Bulls blood.

And our battered hero, the Achilles Wade, was holding the sword that dripped crimson red.

The nail-in-the-coffin, a three point shot by Wade with 3:40 left. The topper, Nocioni was tagged with a technical.

Game 5. Victory.

You can't say enough about Dwayne Wade. I hope we all appreciate just what we're witnessing with this kid.

(more coverage on the game at SporTech Matter)


I was at the game last night too. But I have to admit, as much as I was pissed off about the refs not calling Wade's mauling a foul, they did a good job. We went to the line like 9 times in the 1st quarter alone. In game 4, we went to to the line a total 5 times for the game.

Bout time they woke up and realized that there are two teams out there.

nice run down ... very dramatic. and very true. no wade = deep trouble. hope he'll be ok for the rest of the series/playoffs.
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