LOCAL BOYS:MIAMI HEAT ’WORLD CHAMPIONS’

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LOCAL BOYS:MIAMI HEAT ’WORLD CHAMPIONS’

 user 2006-06-21 at 10:23:00 am Views: 52
  • #15760

    Wade Leads Heat to First NBA Championship
    Star Guard Scores 36 Points in Win Over Mavs
    DALLAS
    June 06 – Pat Riley first promised it 11 years ago: a Miami Heat
    victory parade down Biscayne Boulevard. Shaquille O’Neal guaranteed it
    two summers ago, vowing to add a fourth ring to his big hand in his new
    city.And with one tenacious game after another in these NBA finals,
    Dwyane Wade delivered both.The Miami Heat are champions for the first
    time, thanks to two basketball greats who made good on their promises -
    and the next great one, whose promise seems unlimited.The man they call
    “Flash” had 36 points and 10 rebounds in the teeth of a hostile Dallas
    crowd Tuesday night, capping his magnificent playoffs and the Heat’s
    sizzling four-game comeback by leading Miami past the Mavericks
    95-92.”It’s one of the best feelings, next to my wife and my son, that
    I’ve ever had in my life,” Wade said. “I’m going to live it up!”The
    Heat roared back from a two-game deficit to win the NBA finals in six.
    Wade, the obvious finals MVP, cemented his superstardom with a dominant
    four-game performance capped by four pressure-packed, final-minute free
    throws in the same building where Miami went down two games to none.
    NBA Finals: Mavs vs. Heat
    Series Schedule/Results:
    Game 1: Mavericks 90, Heat 80
    Game 2: Mavericks 99, Heat 85
    Game 3: Heat 98, Mavericks 96
    Game 4: Heat 98, Mavericks 74
    Game 5: Heat 101, Mavs 100 (OT)
    Game 6: Heat 95, Mavs 92
    He
    even missed a pair in the waning seconds, giving Dallas a final shot to
    tie. But Jason Terry missed an open look for 3, and Wade grabbed the
    rebound and flung it joyously into the stands as time expired.Where
    there’s a Wade, there’s a will. His grace added a fifth ring to Riley’s
    finger – third-most among NBA coaches – and the first jewelry in Shaq’s
    collection with no connection to Kobe Bryant.”The great Pat Riley told
    me we were going to win today,” said O’Neal, who had nine points and 12
    rebounds. “I didn’t have the best game. But D-Wade’s been doing it all
    year. He’s the best player ever.”Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 15
    rebounds for the Mavs, but Dallas couldn’t manage the last basket it
    needed to topple Wade’s determination. With their crowd booing every
    call and seething with every missed opportunity, the Mavs missed their
    own chance for their first title.The Heat finished the franchise’s 18th
    season with one of the league’s greatest rallies in a finals, and the
    last period of Game 6 was appropriately gritty.Miami nursed a narrow
    lead, taking an 89-85 advantage with 2:36 left on two jumpers by James
    Posey. Jerry Stackhouse cut it to a point with a 3-pointer in his first
    game back from suspension, but after Udonis Haslem and Josh Howard
    traded jumpers, Wade hit two free throws with 26 seconds left.Erick
    Dampier then fumbled a pass on Dallas’ next possession, and Wade fought
    to get the loose ball. He hit two more free throws with 17.7 seconds to
    play, but after Howard hit a pair, Wade missed two with 10.3 seconds
    left.But Terry missed an open 3-pointer. It was the last of 11 straight
    misses, and the final disappointment in the Mavs’ otherwise remarkable
    season.”We made a lot of progress this year,” said Dallas’ Avery
    Johnson, the NBA’s coach of the year. “We aimed high this year, and I
    told them that a lot of teams have to go through this. This will really
    hurt this summer. I hope they work out hard, make me a better coach.
    I’m ready to try it again.”Miami hung onto the clincher in front of
    more than 20,000 Dallas fans still furious at every NBA official and
    commissioner David Stern for the Mavs’ three losses in Miami last week.
    Owner Mark Cuban stoked the furor with his antics after Game 5, which
    resulted in a $250,000 fine earlier Tuesday.But while the Mavs worried
    about every perceived slight, the Heat focused on fulfilling the
    promises of Riley and O’Neal.”I came to Miami because of this young
    fella right here,” O’Neal said, indicating Wade. “I knew I wanted to
    make him better.”Dallas’ fans both booed and cheered the trophy
    presentation, and Stern was jeered repeatedly.Cuban stole the finals
    spotlight earlier in the day, getting socked with the fine for his
    complaints about the officials and general conspiracy theory. All of
    Dallas caught the Mavs’ us-against-the-world vibe: Signs supporting
    Cuban and suggesting a league conspiracy against the Mavs dotted the
    stands for Game 6, and fans screamed at Stern in his courtside seat.But
    the series actually was controlled by Wade, who ascended to the most
    elite tier of NBA stars. He scored 121 points in three victories in
    Miami before capping it with one more tenacious win.Riley wiped away
    tears while hugging his players, and Miami crowded onto the hastily
    assembled podium with the excitement of a high-school graduation.Riley,
    who won his first ring since 1988, claimed he never considered the
    possibility Miami wouldn’t finish with four straight wins.”I packed one
    suit, one shirt and one tie,” he said before the game. “That’s
    it.”Riley tied John Kundla with his fifth title as a head coach. Only
    Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach have more, with nine apiece.O’Neal, who
    fought foul trouble, was held to two of his worst career playoff games
    in the earlier Dallas debacles, and he endured another extraordinary
    struggle at the free-throw line in the series. None of it will matter
    to the Big Champ: He’ll take a special pride in winning his first ring
    without Bryant.Their partnership resulted in three titles and four
    finals trips for the Los Angeles Lakers, but their clashing egos caused
    a power struggle that led to Shaq’s trade. O’Neal has no such problems
    with Wade, and their cohesion peaked in Miami’s four finals wins.Riley,
    the slick-haired strategist who led the Lakers to four titles in the
    1980s, now has vindication from those who criticized his decision to
    take over the club from coach Stan Van Gundy early in the
    season.Leaning on Riley’s savvy in coaching veterans and defense, the
    Heat rolled through the postseason with surprising force – never even
    facing a seventh game. Riley now has seven rings, counting his single
    championships as a player and an assistant coach.And the Heat’s roster
    is studded with stars who never won a title. Point guard Gary Payton
    reached the finals with three teams before finally grabbing the ring,
    while Alonzo Mourning played through 13 seasons, two retirements and a
    serious kidney ailment for a championship.Antoine Walker, Jason
    Williams, Posey, Haslem – all endured serious career troubles, and now
    they’re all champions, too.Notes: The Heat became the first team to
    rally from an 0-2 deficit to win the finals since the NBA went to its
    2-3-2 format. Only two other teams ever did it: The Boston Celtics in
    1969, and the Portland Trail Blazers in 1977.