Here we are.
Game 7 has arrived, and all the happy good fun times of that crazy Game 6 victory have turned back to angst-ridden nervousness.
We'd be having a lot more fun with this if our balls weren't in our assholes right now.
Still, it's here, and we need to buck up and get prepped. And as Heat players prepare for the game of their lives, we offer a logical yet completely blasphemous suggestion to Erik Spoelstra:
Namely, play Dwyane Wade less tonight.
A LOT less.
D-Wade is an icon 'round these parts. Drafted by the Heat in 2003 and the hero of the 2006 NBA Finals championship team (which celebrates its anniversary on this very day), Wade delivered the Heat its first championship in franchise history.
He's not the same player he used to be, and his gimpy knee has kept him bottled up a bit.
Even so, he brought the ruckus in Game 4 and saved the Heat's season. Surely, Miami wouldn't be in this Game 7 if it weren't for MV3.
But overall, the numbers and his clear lack of explosiveness have been the main culprit in the Heat's woes in this series.
Yes, the Spurs have been magnificent, and yes, Danny Green has exploded onto all our faces with his three-point craziness.
But the Spurs came into the series with one sole purpose: Stop LeBron James at all costs and force Wade -- who they know is not the same guy he used to be -- to beat them with his jump shot.
For all the complaining we've done of LeBron not being able to attack the rim, the fact is, he can't because it's clogged with players whose sole mission is to stop him from doing that. Wade on the floor wrecks LeBron's spacing and gives the Heat a serious disadvantage in the paint.
The argument can be made both ways, since LeBron on the court also messes with Wade's spacing.
But because Wade's jump shot has been off and because he lacks the explosiveness in his legs to really wreck Spurs ass, the two of them on the floor have made the Heat's once invincible offense stagnant and shitty.
With Wade on the bench, the Heat offense has been a devastating, soul-crushing, offensive onslaught.
That nut-crushing 33-5 run the Heat went on in Game 2? Wade was on the bench.
That fourth quarter run that set up the Heat's massive comeback in Game 6 had Ray Allen, Chris Andersen, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers, and LeBron on the floor.
When Wade was substituted back in, the Heat crumbled (and was ultimately saved by Ray Allen).
The efficiency numbers for the Heat with Wade on the court versus him off it are pretty staggering.
The bottom line is that Miami is far more dangerous with Wade on the bench.
Does this mean we bench our beloved D-Wade?
But it does mean that Spoelstra has to think about seriously limiting his minutes while dealing with Wade's butthurt (and fans' butthurt) issues later.
This is Game 7, after all. There is no margin for error.
The stats don't lie. Against the Spurs, the Heat are far more dangerous without Wade.
(Now watch him play the most minutes he's played all season and drop 38 on our asses.)
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