Miami Heat: The Worst Team Remaining
How can the Heat be anything other than the worst team remaining when they came into the playoffs as an underdog and, now, Dwyane Wade is not 100 percent? Hey, it's just another way of saying that coach Erik Spoelstra is doing a great coaching job.
Miami was down 23 points at halftime, and the only reason to watch the remaining 24 was to find out who was going to commit the next hard foul and who was going to be on the receiving end of it.
For the record, Jermaine O'Neal levied the final hard foul of the night and Zaza Pachulia was the one who got it. It was no doubt chippy in the first half, but the second half pretty much fizzled with the Heat unable to maintain any kind of extended run.
More on Game 5 ...
The more you watch Dwyane Wade in the postseason the more you realize that one player can never beat a team, and that's a basketball constant until proven otherwise. Whether it was Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan, without enough help, they were on their own.
Just like Wade. It doesn't matter how good Wade is in this series -- and he's been quite good, naturally -- unless a Mario Chalmers or Udonis Haslem or Michael Beasley pitches in the Heat aren't going anywhere.
President Pat Riley's job is pretty simple: Get Wade some help. And Jermaine O'Neal doesn't qualify any more as good help.
-- Speaking of O'Neal, that overhead camera from above the backboard gives a real good look at a player's free-throw shooting technique, and it doesn't do O'Neal any favors.
When you see O'Neal's form from up there, you can't help but think: "What coach let him get away with shooting that way when he was growing up?"
O'Neal is still just 30 years old, but clearly his best days are behind him. O'Neal's like one of those Hummer SUVs , essentially running out of gas as soon it gets going. Another good start wafted away to a 14-point, three-rebound, not-much-of-a-factor evening.
-- If the Miami-Atlanta series goes the full seven, it means the Cavaliers will have had at least eight days off between their Round 1 series and their Round 2 series. Who said the playoffs were a grind?
-- Flip Murray deserves some credit. The guy is going to interject himself into a game – good, bad or indifferent. Come playoff time, most role players tend to get a little conservative, not take too many chances and play off their team's stars.
Not Murray. He'll wave off the stars if he can make something happen. And he made stuff happen on Wednesday, finishing with 23 points. Most impressive: 15 shots in 33 minutes.
-- By the way, with all due respect to Wade, are we judging his performance as if he were healthy or as if he were hurt? If we're judging his performance as if he were healthy, then his game was a little curious, to say the least.
Wade was far too passive in the first half, even before he hit his head on the court while running down a loose ball. After he returned, he continued to defer until the third period.
That's when Wade began to get it going, only you've got to question his timing considering the Heat were down 23. And as warm as Wade got in the second half, the best the Heat did was get down 13 with a 3-point attempt to get it to 10.
Point is, no self-respecting athlete ever uses injuries as an excuse. They'll always be the first to tell you that if they're out there then they're not hurt. Well, if Wade was out there, then he wasn't hurt, which means his game wasn't nearly as gutty or good.
Also, Wade looked pretty healthy early in the second quarter when he was ripping teammates after a timeout, and he looked pretty bouncy when he almost made a spectacular block – wrongly called a flagrant foul – on a breakaway dunk attempt by Maurice Evans.