Wade Turns on the Heat

June 26, 2006

by Amit Goyal

An NBA finals that is comparable to the legendary movie itself. Miami Heat came from behind after being down 0-2 in the series to wrap it off in the sixth game and win the finals 4-2.

The Mavericks won the first two games with such ease that many feared that the finals would be over by Game 4 itself. Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki put up sterling performances that left the Heats frustrated and gasping for breath. The finals then moved from Dallas to Miami and the Heats got their acts together and won the next three at home to go up 3-2 in the finals. Game 3 was not easy but the Heats rallied from behind and erased a 13 point deficit with 6 minutes to go in the fourth quarter to take the game. Game 5 was another nail biter with Wade taking the game into overtime and then taking the game winning shot 1.9 seconds from the final buzzer.

The finals will be remembered for the coming of age of Dwayne Wade. It is not easy to overshadow the 7 feet 1 O'Neal, but Wade did that with such ease that he was an easy choice for the NBA Finals MVP. In the crucial Game 3 he scored 42 points and took 13 rebounds. 15 of the 42 points came in the fourth quarter where the Heats erased a 13 point deficit to finally win the game. He again proved his value in Game 5 where he scored 43 points and also a record 21 from 25 free throws including the game winning shot. He averaged 34.7 (third best behind Allan Iverson and West) in the finals and also became one of the five youngest players ever to have scored more than 40 points (he did it twice!!) in the NBA finals.

Also remembered will be the flagrant use of the infamous Hack-a-Shaq by the Mavericks, which resulted in the suspension of Jerry Stackhouse from Game 5. Arnold has a great piece on it (here). Game 5 also left a bad taste in the mouth with Nowitzki kicking the ball in the stands and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban being fined for "acts-of-misconduct".

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