The Heat can’t repeat that way. It needed to be the same team that whizzed the ball around the perimeter against Oklahoma City in the Finals a year ago, when it didn’t matter who was open; chances were they were knocking the shot down. They needed that kind of synergy Sunday night more than ever for the simple fact that no team has ever lost the first two home games of the NBA Finals and come back to win a series.
Then it happened, the most incredible run of the Heat’s postseason — a rare glimpse of the team that dominated the regular season, winning the most games in a row (27) since the 1971-72 Lakers of Wilt and Elgin.
Each defensive stop was followed by a deep jumper, set up by a bullish drive toward the rim. LeBron finally ended up with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, scoring nine of his points in the final quarter.
But it’s what got him there that mattered most, a combined effort by his supporting cast.
Allen was also very good, knocking down that radar jumper with same effortless stroke that he came into the league with in 1996.
Great shooters are the best ticket to longevity in the NBA there is. Glen Rice, Jeff Hornacek, Alex English and Dell Curry all played for more than 13 years because of their beautiful strokes. Reggie Miller and Eddie Johnson got 17 seasons out of their ability to rise, release, fire and swish.
Allen is going on 17 seasons, and his shot is no less pretty than it was when he arrived to the NBA from Connecticut. He could probably play another three years if he wanted.
Can Miami win if LeBron misses 10 of his first 13 shots in Games 3, 4 and 5 in San Antonio? No. But at least Sunday night his struggles led to a needed solution for the Heat in this series: help.
It’s why he came to Miami in the first place; he realized he couldn’t do it alone in Cleveland. Now that his crew has evened things up, things are about to get really interesting in San Antonio.
For previous columns by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.