Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers: Taking Charge
Last night was not one of those nights.
Because last night, the Heat managed to overcome all matters of sucktitude by sacking up, playing some ball, and bringing down a vaunted giant like the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers. We're talking threes dropping from every direction, dudes taking charges, the unlikeliest players stepping up, Rocky knocking out Apollo, Luke blowing up the Death Star, and Danny Noonan's ball dropping in the hole.
And this 114-111 overtime win was more than just D-Wade's standalone heroics. Carlos Arroyo played nearly flawless basketball with tough defense and timely jump shots. Quentin Richardson found a crapload of threes in his pocket. And Udonis Haslem knocked down big shots and crashed the boards like they were made of delicious candy. Jermaine O'Neal made the play of the night (how many times do we get to say that?), drawing a charge on Kobe Bryant with 18 seconds left in overtime. Then there was D-Wade himself, getting his Captain Kirk on and leading this frazzled Enterprise with a 27-point, 14-assist night.
The Heat took everything the Lakers could throw at them. Kobe's 39-points, Ron Artest playing physical defense on Wade, and a large contingent of Lakers fans, whom you can pretty much bet the mortgage have never stepped foot anywhere near the city of Los Angeles, cheering against the home team.
For his part, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson was his usual pretentious giant hipster self during pre-game press time. The Zen Master tried to minimize Q-Rich as a player by saying he'd rather not waste a talented defensive player like Artest on him because "he'd put [Artest] to sleep because Richardson just stands out there on a 3-point line." (Oooh look at me! I've got freakishly large shoulders and read books... you are no match for my subtle mind games!) Q-Rich's 7-threes, 25-point performance made damn sure everybody was wide-awake by the end of the night. Jackson's post-game comments were less of the Zen kind and more on the whiny side of things, complaining about some phantom non-call on his star player.
Yes, it was a big win. The kind of win Heat fans have been hoping to see for some time. The kind of win that could easily be the catalyst for a late-season charge into the playoffs. Sure, that'll follow with the inevitable first round exit, but still. Big win.