If there's one thing your Miami Heat have proven this postseason, it's that they die hard. And now, after Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade combined their nut-stomping powers to lead the Heat to their 103-91 Game 6 win over the Toronto Raptors last night, they have a shot at making history on Sunday.
If the Heat pull off the win on Sunday, they will be the first team in NBA history to be down 3-2 twice and win both series in the same post-season.
Friday night was the third time this Heat team has faced a deathblow from their 2016 NBA playoffs opponent, only to display an uncanny prowess for refusing to lose by pummeling the other guys' collective nut sacks senseless with an umbrella handle. Best of all, it didn't take an otherworldly solo performance from Wade to force Game 7.
Against both Charlotte and the Raptors, Wade has been forced to become the ultimate weapon of awesomeness for Miami. And it's been amazing to watch him stick a fist in the other team's ass all by himself. But there was no way the Heat would advance to the Eastern Conference Finals solely on Wade's shoulders.
But Friday showed us another hero emerge. One who threw down 30 points on 12-for-21 shooting, including two threes and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Who might this be, you ask?
Goran Dragic brought out his Dragon fire good and proper and incinerated the Raptors defense with his Slovenian badassery. He was as aggressive as he is adorable. But not so aggressive that it wrecked his patience in reading Toronto's defense, particularly when the Heat ran at a volcanic pace in transition.
As we mentioned on Thursday, the Heat would serve themselves well by going with a small-ball lineup. And that is exactly what they did Friday. And no one benefitted from this change more than the Dragon himself.
Dragic is at his best when he has wide open spaces to slash into. And with the Heat going über-small by starting Justise Winslow at center, Goran was able to hurtle himself through the Raptor defense and showed the world what a no-frills cock-puncher he can be when given those spaces.
Goran has been passive at times during these playoffs, and it hasn't helped that the officials keep calling fouls on his face whenever it was hit by a flying elbow. But the small-ball tactic emboldened Goran to attack the basket furiously, which in turn got the refs to finally look at things his way.
Once Goran was engaged in "I'm going to sew your non-Slovenian ass to yer stupid face" mode, it was pretty
has scored 9 of his 28 here in the 3rd quarter. pic.twitter.com/Vdj03196gG— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 14, 2016
With Goran dictating the pace, the Heat's offense went all Human Torch and shot 47 percent as a team — the most since Game 1 of this series (which they also won). An aggressive Goran is a happy Goran.
"This is awesome," he told reporters in the post-game presser. "I enjoy competitiveness. I enjoy every game."
And Goran's heroics were able to not only inspire others to step up — like Winslow, who ended the game with 12 points, and Josh Richardson who scored nine points (including this vicious throw-down) while clamping down on Toronto's offense. Dragic's surge even helped get a ten-point performance from Josh McRoberts.
But perhaps no one rose up as a new hero we all need going into Game 7 more than Ali from Utah, who represented Heat Nation so hard on WSVN 7 that he kept it as real as only Ali From Utah could:
Ali for President.
And then there are the ongoing adventures in crotch-kicking starring Dwyane Wade, who managed to throw down 22 points in 8-for-21 shooting — once again showing the NBA-watching world that he has the largest balls of them all.
And while the idea of being eliminated is a huge reason for Wade to get going in the ass-kicking department, we believe one moment from Game 5 is what got Father Prime amped to go to work in Game 6.
Midway through the second quarter of Game 5, Wade catapulted himself towards the rim, only to have his shot blocked by Raptors center Bismack Biyombo. But Biyombo wasn't satisfied merely blocking the shot, he had to get all showy and gave Wade the Dikembe Mutombo finger wag.
Biyombo went on to have a big impact in the game, and the Raptors went on to win that one, but that play only served to epitomize that this team is just asking to have their Canadian asses wrecked.
So on Friday, Wade had his vengeance, completely erasing this otherwise sure-fire Biyombo layup attempt.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Which, in turn, led to Wade going back to DENT RAPTOR ASS mode from all over the court.
Wade is currently leading all players in shots made in these playoffs, proving his detractors wrong, and teaching his opponents to keep the disrespect at a non-existent level.
From Purple Shirt Guy in Charlotte to Biyombo going Mutombo in this series, the lesson here is don't piss off Dwyane Wade. Opposing defenses are learning the hard way that Wade is already combustible enough without the added motivation, and that defending him is not unlike trying to defuse a bomb.