This back-and-forth between Sentinel sports columnist Dave Hyde and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is pretty funny. You can't really lose when a dunderheaded scribe goes up against a jerky billionaire. (An aside: What's with the brackets where parentheses ought to be?) Hyde also had a column today that begins with Pat Riley's 1995 promise to bring a championship parade to Biscayne Boulevard. I was hoping to be spared all that who-ha, since this run has nothing to do with it. Riley has been soundly defeated and self-vanquished from the coaching ranks since making that declaration. Hyde's recent worship of Riley aside, there's only one reason the Heat are in the position they are today: Dwyane Wade. Even Riley admits that. After Game 5's heroics, a writer asked the coach about his strategy at the end of the game. He said it was to get the ball in Wade's hands. "We did not have a second option, believe me," Riley said. When Shaq was asked about how Wade has been so successful, he said, "We just give him the ball and he does what he does."
Seriously. They give him the ball and get out of his way. It's that simple. (And Wade was fouled on that drive with 1.9 seconds left -- only it was Devin Harris that thigh-bumped him, not Nowitzki). I don't know if there's been a player so integral to his team's success since Michael Jordan. Allen Iverson comes to mind, only he's been missing the success part for the past few years. There's certainly not been a player who resembles his Airness more than Wade. Extremely similar games, those two.
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But the small matter of getting a victory in Dallas remains undone. The Sentinel's Mike Berardino remembers how hard it was for Riley to win an away game in Texas during the Finals 12 years ago. Prediction: Dallas frosts the Heat tonight. And Game 7? Well, we'll get there when we get there.