With the series tied at a game apiece:
Bouncing back: Not surprised at all that this team bounced back with a good performance, but I am surprised that they won Game 2. From setting franchise lows in game 1 to franchise highs in Game 2, there is really no way to see that coming. Especially from a team that has had so much trouble holding on to 4th quarter leads on the road this season. But, this wasn't just a game where they had a 4th quarter lead, they dominated the entire game. So, maybe I shouldn't be so surprised they held on.
All in all, this team has been surprisingly resilient all year. If you think about it, they haven't had any real winning streaks this season. I'm talking about 4, 5, 6 game winning streaks. They haven't had that. What does that mean?? Well, for a team that finished only 4 games over .500, it means they haven't had any real losing droughts. They bounce back pretty well. I guess that's pretty easy when Wade is banking in 3 pointers.
Dwyane: Last night reminds me a lot of Game 2, Round 2, in 2006 vs. New Jersey. Just one of those nights where everything was going to work for Dwyane, and he'd put you away early. If you remember that situation, the Heat got smoked in Game 1, and the Heat mopped the floor with the Nets in Game 2, to go on and win the series with relative ease in 5 games. Dwyane came out that game just on fire from 3, and delivered an early knock out blow. Same thing last night. Four triples in the first half, leading to an 11 point halftime lead, and just never really looking back. Except.......
Coach Spoelstra: What a ballsy move by Spoelstra last night. Wade picks up his 5th foul with 5 minutes to go. Mike Brown and Phil Jackson would have kept their star player in the game for the duration, and trusted them not to pick up a 6th foul. Not Erik. He gambled, in a big way, and it absolutely paid off. Wade sits after picking up number 5, Haslem knocks down a couple jumpers in the meantime, and then Wade subsequently delivers the nail in the coffin with 2:30 left, and a 10 point Heat lead.
Overall: I have a hard time believing the Heat don't win Games 3 and 4. You're going to have a long series either way, because I also have a hard time believing the Heat can take another one in Atlanta. I'd be surprised if the Heat don't go back there with a 3-1 lead.
In comparison to the other 4 major sports, home court in the NBA Playoffs is critical. In the NFL, the effect is minimal unless you have warm weather playing at cold weather. In MLB, it's all about the pitching matchups. In the NHL, home-ice is absolutely meaningless. But for whatever reason, it's pretty crucial in the NBA. One thing you always see in this league, is the effect playing on the road has on the younger players and the role players. They historically play better at home. The Heat have a team full of young players and role players.
So, enjoy Games 3 and 4, should be a fun couple of days.
Got questions for Zaslow? Post them in the 'comments' section below and Jonathan will come by and give you an answer. Again, Thanks to Zas!!!!