It shouldn't be breaking news to Heat supporters that their team is judged upon an entirely different standard than other teams. By now you have realized the Miami Heat and their fan base are on an island all by their lonesome, with few outside supporters or believers. After the Heat’s 97-93 win against the Chicago Bulls Sunday afternoon, this apparent double-standard was on full display, as an amazingly ironic sequence of events took place. Reigning MVP Derrick Rose was his usual fantastic self down the stretch, bringing the Bulls back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to within one with 22.7 seconds left to play. Stepping to the line Rose was riding a perfect 29-29 streak on fourth quarter free throws made this season, yet following this crucial trip to the line that streak would end – as Rose misfired on both chances at the line. Rose would go on to clank a potential game tying jumper with 3.7 left, and Chris Bosh would eventually follow with two free throws to seal the victory for Miami. The poor performance at the line left Rose wondering if God himself was trying to tell him something; apparently Rose believes his creator moonlights as a free-throw shooting coach.
Rose would finish the game with big numbers (34pts, 6reb, 6ast), but in total an extremely poor 11-for-28 from the floor. He would bring his team back with athletic mid-airs moves only a handful of NBA players are capable of, but the well went dry when his team needed it most – in the clutch. After the game much would be made of the teammates he was missing, in Luol Deng and CJ Watson – I guess #WithoutDeng doesn't have the same ring as #WithoutWade. Analysts on the postgame show would deem this a "good loss by the Bulls, and a bad win by the Miami Heat," as if there is a place to the right of wins in the standings for "good losses".
Hey, things happen right? Players crumble under the pressure every now and then. It’s part of their learning process, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Sure, as long as you don’t have "MIAMI" on your chest. Reports from the locker room were that Derrick Rose shed a few tears out of frustration, but it was barely mentioned past that. More was made of how terrific it was that Rose always seems to take the blame for his team's defeats, and is digusted with losing to the point his eyes well up. Against this exact team last season, after a crushing close loss, Spoelstra would say "There a couple of guys crying in the locker room right now," – unintentionally kicking off what would forever be known as "crygate". As if it mattered, the media speculated on who it could have been that was weak enough to cry. Countless questions were asked in the upcoming weeks about the subject, and after being spotted taking the Finals defeat hard – Chris Bosh became the official face of "Crygate". A simple You-Tube search of the subject reveals just how absurdly things were blown out of proportion. Hey, but if you are Derrick Rose, it’s just another sign of his humbleness – look at this leader, wearing his emotions on his sleeve! Goy.
All in all the scenario seems the same, but the cast and characters are different. I suppose every story has to have it’s villain – and the Miami Heat are just that in the NBA. If Derrick Rose chokes, then follows it up with a good cry, its humbleness. If the Heat fall short, and show some emotion – everyone is all the sudden Louis CK on the subject. In the end not only do the Heat need to win, but they need to win how everyone else wants them to win. They need to win not one, not two, not three (you get the idea) championships, and they need to do it all this season. The Miami Heat dare not show some emotion, but if they don’t show any emotion, well then that’s a problem too. While there may be no way to even the public perception playing field over night, there are obviously plenty of ways to do it on one afternoon in the American Airlines Arena – and on this day and every other game day, that’s all that matters.