If you are anything like me, the definition of a "Heat-Hater", then chances are, after Game 2, we were echoing the exact same sentiments.
"They are done."
However, Game 3 has proven that my opinion and the opinion of others derived from biased judgment, and there is not an ounce of truth in believing the Miami Heat is finished.
It is just getting started.
With the exception of a fourth-quarter meltdown that we all witnessed in Game 2, this Miami Heat team has been flawless at times. The Heat has played excellent defense and forced turnovers, but most importantly, it is able to find the open-shooter on offense.
With players like Mario Chalmers legitimizing themselves as scoring options, this team has been excellent, and about six minutes of game time separates it from currently having a 3-0 series lead.
At the same time, how can you forget Dirk "immaculate" Nowitzki?
His transcendent play this postseason, particularly down the stretch of very close games, is the only reason the Mavericks are still in this series.
He has fought endlessly, often carrying the team on his back, and he gets to the line religiously. The fact that Dirk calls the free throw line his second home is not a result of questionable refereeing or a matter of him having the ball longer than most players.
He is an intelligent player who knows when to draw fouls, when to distribute the ball to other teammates and when to take control of the game. I am not about to take him off of the pedestal, not when Udonis Haslem defended him as best as anyone possibly could in only 4.4 seconds.
You make some and you miss some.
With that said, this Heat team has been supurb, and shame on those, myself included, for thinking it was finished. Dwyane Wade has made this team his team and is showing everyone, once again, what it means to be a champion.
Lastly, the Heat defense is vastly underrated. Where is this Dallas Mavericks bench that shredded the Los Angeles Lakers? Where is the 38-year-old Jason Kidd, who has since been a non-factor after he became a legitimate scoring option prior to the finals?
They have been chewed up and spit out by the Miami Heat defense, which is, hands down, the best in the league.
This Miami Heat team was written off by most after the catastrophic meltdown in Game 2. Yet, here it is after Game 3, doing exactly what it did prior to the meltdown: instilling fear in the hearts of every single critic and dominating everyone not named Dirk Nowitzki.
Unless the other 11 Dallas Mavericks players decide to show up, the inevitable is near, and for most basketball fans, the inevitable is unfortunate.