When a team has played 81 games, they all start to feel familiar. A blowout tonight feels like a game from earlier in the month. A comeback yesterday feels like something that happened last week. No matter what happens, it feels like old hat. But I can tell you exactly what this game felt like to me. Because I was there the first time. Heat hosting the Nets, November 14. A team that was vastly over-matched held around, and held control, for an extended period of time in a game. The Heat, instead of folding, stayed within striking distance. And ultimately, a big Dwyane Wade play made the difference in a game that doesn't feel like much in the micro, but matters a whole lot in the macro. This time it's a dish instead of a shot from Wade, but the result was the same. Late-game dramatics now have the Heat within 48 hours of the five seed everyone's been clamoring for since October. The seed that looked like a long-lost pipe dream two months ago. The seed that seemed to be the key to a possible first-round upset, if it's at all possible. It gets boring to write that Dwyane Wade is the engine, so let's just leave him with this: in the month of April, when the Heat have won five of its six games, Wade has averaged 31 points, 2.5 points better than the next statistically significant month of 2009-2010, January at 28.5. Coincidence? I think not. Of course, the other man deserving of a hat tip if you're a Heat fan tonight is Udonis Haslem. He's constantly beed dogged in his career as the guy that feeds off the table scraps. The guy that makes the most of the bad situation of others. But if he's not shot-for-shot in game-winning situations with Dwyane Wade, he's awfully close. I dislike clichés, but he's earned the "big-time shot guy" tag during his time in Miami. One more thing is something that was mentioned on the Miami Heat's Twitter account during the game, and that I was aware of but couldn't put my finger on: Carlos Arroyo is a pretty damn good point guard. And here's the proof:
Arroyo's 4.13 assist-to-turnover ratio is the second-best in the @NBA. Right now he has 7 assist. #LETSGOHEATHe doesn't turn the ball over, he doesn't lose the game and he can pour in a couple points when called upon. He's constantly been considered the ugly duckling point-guard option, but as the playoffs near, I'd be pretty happy to have Dwyane Wade and Carlos Arroyo as the two guys to bring the ball up the court. See you Wednesday, folks.