Published November 20, 2014
Dwyane Wade was spot-on before Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
"Each game is going to come down to, as coach (Erik Spoelstra) continues to tell us, come down to four or five plays," the Miami All-Star said. "No matter what the score is, you've got the two best teams in the league right now going against each other. So it's going to be a very tough game, but we have to find a way to win it."
For the second straight contest the Heat got the better of those four or five plays on Sunday, earning a 91-85 win to take a 2-1 advantage in the series.
It wasn't a pretty affair. Miami couldn't buy a jump shot all night, particularly in the first half when the Heat were 15-for-22 in the restricted area and a dismal 3-for-22 outside of it. Overall, Miami scored an almost mind-numbing 77 of its 91 points from inside the paint or the free throw line.
"We were just trying to be aggressive from the beginning of the game, even from Game 2," Wade said after the win. "Our mentality is just be aggressive, attack the paint, play inside-out. Tonight we were aggressive. We got in the paint a lot, and when you do that, a lot of triggers get pulled."
Despite the offensively challenged night the Heat were able to take advantage of a number of blunders from the Thunder, starting with coach Scott Brooks and trickling all the way down to Oklahoma City's Big Three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
Brooks' substitution patterns had everyone scratching their heads, Durant was in foul trouble again, Westbrook continued his undisciplined play and Harden couldn't buy a bucket all night.
"We put ourselves in a position to win," Durant said. "That's what it's about. Tough loss. This is not over. It's not over. We've got to be ready for next game."
Wade, who continues to struggle with a balky left knee, was far from his usual self as well but when you looked up after the game, the veteran managed to deposit 25 points and add seven rebounds as well as a team-high seven assists.
"It was an ugly game, and we can't wait to look at the film," said Wade. "You've got guys in the locker room saying, I can't wait to look at the film and see where we can get better and get better opportunities. We are a team that prides ourselves in winning any style game."
Ugly or not an NBA Finals win is always big but it was even more special for Wade since Sunday was Father's Day.
Wade considers fatherhood a topic of deep personal significance to him and is excited to be detailing his personal experiences as a parent in a new book scheduled for a fall release.
The superstar has faced his share of criticism in this postseason for his inconsistent play as well as his reaction to it on occasion but that kind of negativity pales in comparison to his prolonged battle with his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches for sole custody of his two sons, Zaire and Zion.
"I kind of wanted to show some of my personal experiences with people who have dealt with some of the same things I've dealt with in life, or people that might one day deal with the same sort of things," Wade said of his upcoming book. "Fatherhood is a culture thing, and it's something that everyone can share in. I thought I would share my experiences and hopefully help others."
Recently Wade even teamed up with President Barack Obama to support the Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, a national parenting program geared toward encouraging fathers to become more involved in the lives of their children.
"You know, I enjoy being one of the guys with my boys, but I also enjoy being a leader and being able to lead them, and help mold the way that they think, and hopefully some of the things that they're going to do," Wade said. "Father's Day is special when you get to look at your kids' faces and see yourself in them, but just to see kind of what you guys have, and that's love. That's all it is about."
This time of year, however it's still about basketball too.
Since the 2-3-2 Finals format was instituted by the NBA in 1985, the team that wins Game 3 in a 1-1 series is a gaudy 11-1 overall but that is of little comfort to Wade.
"We (have) done nothing but came home and won a game, and we're up two to one," said Wade. "It's the first to four. We've got another game to get ready for, and we want to win and they want to win. We're not going to talk about the series turning at all because each game is its own.
"This game is over with."