It’s easy to support a winning team and much more difficult to stay positive when that team is on the verge of another playoff collapse.
And judging by the voice, this was a kid (or an adult with a very child-like voice) displaying his continued belief that Miami’s superstars and supporting cast can still rally past the surging Boston Celtics to reach a second straight NBA Finals. But perhaps the fan should have chosen his words a bit more carefully.
“Good job, good effort!” were the repeated words of encouragement.
But on a night in which the Heat shot just 39 percent, committed 15 turnovers and were man-handled over the middle two quarters, Miami failed to get the job done and the effort wasn’t where it needed to be.
Even more troubling was Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra’s awkward plea during the post-game press conference.
Yahoo Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski took a different approach than the young Heat fan as he eviscerated James and his teammates for their fragility in crunch time and continued failure to live up to their potential.
"I never thought we would be in this situation," Dwyane Wade said.
That's the problem for the Heat, and a year after they collapsed in the NBA Finals it's a mindset that still hangs over them. He was talking about going down 3-2 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, but this was a reflection of something bigger.
All along, they believed this would be easy, that the NBA would lay down for them. Two years ago, they believed this resembled Team USA, that most of the league would crumble like Angola to them. Now, they lose a Game 5 to the Celtics, a team they've had every chance to discard, and here's how LeBron James talks about one more playoff night, when the Heat couldn't match the Celtics' resolve, execution and championship character.
"We played good enough to give ourselves a chance to win," James said. "That's all you can ask for."
In what universe is that all the NBA's three-time Most Valuable Player can ask for? To play well enough for a chance to win?
James led the Heat yet again with 30 points and 13 rebounds, but he scored only two of those in the final eight minutes of the game. Wade scored 14 of his 29 points in the final frame, but he also committed a pair of key turnovers down the stretch.
Now the Heat head back up to Boston with one more loss separating them from another offseason full of soul-searching and likely a coaching search, too. If the team James famously said would pile up at least seven championships can’t beat the aging Celtics in a seven-game series, what’s the solution for the NBA’s perennial underachievers?