do not ask.
No, really, don’t ask how the Miami Heat can get Game 6 on Friday night to extend the Eastern Conference Finals.
Denial is not a game plan. Hope is not a strategy. We just heard the Florida Panthers say, “We’re getting our shots” on the way out of their three-goal-in-four game.
Now Heat coach Eric Spoelstra, for whom I’m in the tank, was saying, utterly and unbelievably, amidst the wreckage of the Heat’s Game 5 loss, who sat atop the wreckage of their Game 4 loss, “We have to Got shots in the wheelhouse.”
The Heat need Game 6 in Boston to keep the season going. This happened in 2012. The entire sporting nation doubted and ridiculed him in a way that no one is openly enjoying this time.
LeBron James played a game like Larry Tsonka in Super Bowl VIII in 2012, as did Josh Beckett at Yankee Stadium – forever 45 points and a 15-point moment to storm the gates and lead the Big Three to the next leg of the NBA title. For.
Who plays LeBron on Friday nights?
Jimmy Butler has shot 7 of 32 since Peyton Pritchard caught his knee and wrenched it in Game 3. This makes Pritchard the MVP of the series.
Kyle Lowry, whose hamstring hamstrings are visible, had no points, no assists, and a grateful rebound to come on the stat sheet in the Heat’s unfortunate Game 5.
Bam Adebayo has met his Celtic-green kryptonite at Robert Williams. When Williams was dismissed in Game 3, Adebayo had 31 points. Adebayo averaged 10.7 points in the other four games, shrugging his shoulders.
She’s the Heat’s Big Three right now. They look like a banded fife-and-drum brigade going back to New England.
Please don’t read it wrong: This is a tough team, a heat-worthy team, having won two playoff series and advanced these conference finals to a nearly best-of-seven boundary. So in such a season there would be no snarky criticism or flair about the offense of his disappearance, which has reached the goods and a market where any team would be persuaded to reach this point.
They are also up against a tough Boston team. Winning Game 6 would be LeBron-like for this team, right?
Spoelstra was talking about the Heat’s good shots after Game 5 and how, yes, “you take off the feeling,” and look at the cold, hard numbers like he did on the stat sheet before that…
“Well, yeah, that’s not a great 3-point percentage,” he said.
Heat were devastating at 7 for 45 from 3-point range. It was the best 3-point shooting team in the league. Now it has gone south like the power play of the Panthers.
“We all felt it,” Spolestra said of that shooting. “We all looked. They’re a great defense. It’s not like we’re going to score 130. What I’m looking for is whether we’re getting shots in our wheelhouse, shots in our strength zones. Me. Know how angry our people are. This can change quickly, especially on the road.”
Look, as I said, Spoelstra can coach my team in any sport at any time. He is doing what a great coach should be doing in times like these. He is pushing the positive. He is resetting the shot clock for the next game.
“Those Opens are 3 shots we’ve made all year,” Spoelstra said. “Our people are incendiary.”
He is also addressing health questions. “No excuse,” Spoelstra continued to question Butler’s knee, which confined him.
Philadelphia center Joel Embiid had a pertinent tweet late Wednesday: “Miami needs another star.” Him? His career could use the culture of the Heat. He’s also right, that the Heat could use another star player. The Heat could also use a healthy butler and lullaby right now.
Spoelstra has certainly been here before. Compared to the pressure of 2012, it’s kid’s stuff. Maybe Grandpa Haslem can tell the locker room how everyone was up against him that season. This year’s Heat team doesn’t draw emotion by comparison.
Game 6 still looms.
“You have to enjoy it,” said Spolestra. “You do. Every time you want to win, and punch your ticket to the finals, you have to do some ridiculously hard stuff. Going to Boston, figuring it out collectively.
“Those are feelings and successes that you have for the rest of your life. And bring this thing back on the 29th. That’s all we talked about.”
It will be a success unlike any other. LeBron had a historic game by South Florida standards. But is anyone on the Heat good enough or healthy enough to land that role in Boston this time around?