|Dwyane Wade and LeBron James talk it out and finally beat the C’s in Boston||05.10.11 at 12:40 am ET|
This was exactly the kind of moment their detractors were waiting for. LeBron James drives into the paint against Paul Pierce, loses control of himself and the ball and allows the Celtics to get a chance to get a final shot and win the game.
So, when a foul was called with 19.5 seconds remaining and the Celtics called timeout, Dwyane Wade came over to LeBron and had a talk.
“I had a timeout to kick myself, tell myself you can’t turn the ball over in that situation,” James said. “D-Wade came to me, told me what he thought I should have done, but there was still time on the clock and I had to let it go because they had the ball with the shot clock was off.
“For the most part, I’ve watched a lot of Celtics games, I’ve been in a lot of pressure situations against them so I kind of knew what was coming at me, I knew it was going to be either a Paul Pierce pick and roll or it was going to be an isolation. The only way for me to redeem myself was to get a stop and send it to overtime.”
Which is exactly what he did. He forced Paul Pierce to the left – after the Celtics botched the play – and made the Celtics captain shoot a fallaway jumper that rimmed out at the buzzer.
“We may get on each other, but at the end of the day we walk out of the huddle as a unit, we together,” Wade said. “We can have an opportunity to win. When the turnover happened, I talked to Bron and told him what I thought he should have did, and said lets get this stop and lets go into overtime and win this game, and we did.”
To Wade, this was a great case of learning from all the mistakes of the first month of the season, like when the Heat started 9-8 and critics were saying the team might never gel.
“I think we’ve done a good job all year of learning from our mistakes. We said this in the beginning of the year in November when we started off 9-8. If we had started off 15-2, 16-1, 17-0, that would have been the worst thing that could have happened to this team. We hit adversity very fast and we had to really come together as a unit. We had to look at ourselves in the mirror and figure it out together. Even though in the season we went through ups and downs, I think November was very key for us. Now it’s expected, we’re not always going to win, but we stick together.”
Given another chance, LeBron, D-Wade and the Heat made the Celtics pay dearly in overtime, scoring the first six points and holding off the exhausted Celtics in a 98-90 win that gives the Heat the chance to extinguish the Green in Game 5 Wednesday in Miami.
“Huge game,” James said with relief afterward. “I looked it as probably one of the biggest games of my career coming into the game knowing what was at stake. I approached it that way, me and D-Wade had a lot of conversation after Game 3 all the way to the tip off today about how important this game is.”
It took a month but once Wade felt comfortable talking to LeBron, he says he doesn’t hesitate letting him know what he’s thinking.
“I say about December,” Wade said. “November we were starting to feel it out. We came into a new situation, we understood for us to be successful as a team both of us had to obviously play our games, but we had to demand more from each other. We had to be leaders together, if that means getting on the other guy than we get on the other guy. If that means, sometimes you push another guy, you push him. Nothing that is said on the basketball court is going to do anything to hurt him feelings or my feelings. We’re best of friends, we talk often about a lot of things, even outside of basketball. Nothing that is said, we know that it is meant the right way, and we both listen and move on from it.”
Wade, who finished with 28 points himself, made a huge shot in overtime, a 22-footer that was first ruled a trey before replay showed his foot was on the line. Still, up 92-86, the Heat put their feet down and didn’t let up.
“I was actually very confident,” Wade said of the off-balance shot. “When I released it, it felt good, so when I hit it I wasn’t surprised. It was a big shot for us, especially at a time where it looked like we had nothing. Just raise up and hit it, just trying to do my part in the game in the 4th quarter and overtime. I do my part as one of the leaders of this team and make something happen.”
So, after 11 straight losses, the heat is finally off Wade to answer a question about winning in Boston.
“Well it’s no doubt this is the biggest game yet, to date, for this team. But individually, me and LeBron talked about this last night at dinner, this is the biggest game for us since 2006-2007 when he was playing against Detroit and I played in the finals. We had to approach it that way, it was personally just a challenge to myself, Bron, and Chris to lead the way. And everyone else on the team to just fill in and do a job when called upon. But it was on us to lead the way and get a win. So very big win, no question about it. Puts us in a very good position to go home and try to close the series out.”
Added LeBron, “I heard a stat that D-Wade had lost 11 straight in this building, I haven’t had much success in this building. So, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to come out and just try to do whatever it took to help our team win this ballgame. We did that.”