LeBron James and Dwyane Wade may rightfully get most of the headlines, but against the stingy Indiana Pacers defense, the Miami Heat need everyone to chip in.
That’s precisely what took place in Game 3, as the Heat took back command of the Eastern Conference Finals. Wade and James finished with 18 and 22 points respectively, but the collective effort was what overwhelmed Indy.
LeBron claimed that Miami enjoyed facing some uncertainty heading into Game 3, prior to their convincing 114-96 victory.
It was a reminder of two staggering statistics that are part of the reason the Heat have been titlists and title favorites for a while now. They haven’t lost two consecutive games in 4½ months, since the second week of January, to be precise. And since their 2011 Finals failure, they are 13-0 when falling behind in a series. [...] “Losses have an amazing property for us,” Heat resident philosopher Shane Battier said. “It cleans the wax out of our ears.” Last season, the Heat became the first team in history to come from behind to win three series on their way to the title.
It appears to be one giant passive-aggressive complex. The Heat just love it when they are doubted and enjoy the satisfaction of beating critics back into the shadows. But they also seem to only do so after having invited it in the first place. That, or perhaps a hint of masochism — they like to touch the stove just to see how hot it might be. “I want to say ‘No, that’s not true,’ but yeah,” Chris Bosh, who had 15 points in Game 3, said. “Sometimes, you have to know that you can get beat. We never want to lose in a series or lose home-court advantage, but, sometimes, that’s what we need.” [...] “We love the fact that they took home-court [advantage] away from us,” James, who had 22 points, said. “We’re a team that just bounces back from adversity. I think we know what we’re made of.”
The Miami Heat’s five starters all scored in double-figures, and they used a team Playoff record 70 points in the first half to establish total control.
The Eastern Conference Finals seem to be adopting a familiar script: the Miami Heat give their opponent a false sense of hope, before roaring back and snuffing them out.