After the Dallas Mavericks put the finishing touches on their stunning NBA Finals Game 2 comeback victory, the celebration Dwyane Wade and LeBron James had in front of the Dallas bench with 7 minutes to go (and Miami up by 15 points) became the story of the night.
According to the emotional Jason Terry and Tyson Chandler, LeBron and Wade’s premature woofing lit a fire under the Mavs. In this clip, you can briefly see Terry yelling at ‘Bron and DWade (0:14 second mark.)
The Heat superstars, of course, denied that they overdid it with the celebrating, and Dirk Nowitzki said he didn’t even see it.
From the Star-Telegram:
“We noticed it,” said center Tyson Chandler, who collected 13 points and seven rebounds. “It was definitely frustrating when you’ve got a guy showboating in front of your bench with seven minutes left. I think it angered a lot of us. You say the game is not over. I don’t care what they say, the game is not over.” In the Mavs’ huddle, coach Rick Carlisle told his team to go out and prove that the game wasn’t over. And they did.
“Right at that moment (of the Heat’s celebration) it was a turning point in the game,” said guard Jason Terry, who had 16 points and five assists. “Obviously we come out of that timeout and if we don’t score, then we’re pretty much dead. We looked at each guy in the huddle to a man. Me specifically looked at Dirk and said, there’s no way we’re going out like this … It’s too much time left in this game,” said Terry, who had eight points in the winning rally. “And for us to go out in a blowout‑type fashion with them dunking on us, shooting threes on us, it would have been disheartening. We continued to keep faith in ourselves. We went out and grinded it out and got it done.”
Celebration-Gate is an easy and convenient media narrative, and a fun Internet joke launching pad. But it’s not why the Mavs won the game.
Dallas quite simply was the hungrier, smarter team down the stretch, relying on their defense, and the heroics of Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki to send them home with a split.
Dallas blitzed LeBron and walled off the paint, forcing the Miami Heat to use a lot of the shot clock, leaving them with little choice but to hoist up desperate three after desperate three. Miami ended up attempting a total of 30 threes (only hitting 9) for the game, a sure recipe for disaster.
The next three games will be played in Dallas, where the suddenly-rejuvenated Mavericks will be looking to do a little bit of their own celebrating.