The Miami Heat should have closed out the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 4 on Sunday. They followed the script a heavy favorite should, absorbing the underdog’s last shot on their home floor, turning up the screws defensively and closing them out down the stretch. Wait, nevermind.
Instead, it was Philadelphia that somehow did enough to win late. The Heat led by six points with a minute and a half remaining, but a three by Jrue Holiay and another three by Lou Williams put the 76ers in the lead with eight seconds left. The Heat went to LeBron James down the stretch, and he bulled his way into the lane trying to draw the foul. There was no call, and Miami lost another close game.
There are two obvious memes that come out of this, and both are stupid. The first: why LeBron and not Dwyane Wade on that final possession? Isn't Wade teh clozer? Michael Wilbon, now on Twitter, was one of the first to throw his name into the ring here.
I do not understand why Dwyane Wade isn't the No. 1 option for Miami at the end of tight games. First playoff last shot same as reg season.
Thankfully, we have some smart people covering this Heat team that can add more context. The truth is that Miami lost because everyone on the team stopped doing the right thing in crunch time. Wade had bungled the two previous possessions, so why not go to LeBron at the end. For more on this, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN provides the must-read of the playoffs.
The second stupid meme? The Heat not closing out in four games showes a lack of a killer instinct. Newsflash, everyone: this happens all the time. Just last season, the Celtics got beat in Game 4 against the Heat in the first round after going up 3-0. Did it matter? No, not really. Credit the 76ers for coming out inspired. Don’t bash the Heat unless you’re also prepared to bash the 2010 Celtics.
To sum it up: the Heat have issues in crunch-time beyond just LeBron James, and the loss in Game 4 will do nothing to make-or-break their postseason success. It's not as fun this way, but it's more accurate.