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Miami Heat isn't desperate but one more NBA Finals loss would do it

Only three teams have won the Finals after trailing 0-2—none after losing first two at home. Heat lost Game 1 to Spurs, so Game 2 is 'must-win,' Dwyane Wade says.

June 08, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan
  • LeBron James, left, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Miami Heat could be in big trouble if they lose the second of two home games to start their NBA Finals series against the San Antonio Spurs.
LeBron James, left, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Miami Heat could be in… (Lynne Sladky / Associated…)

MIAMI — The large black-and-white signs were very clear.

"Interview in Progress. Quiet Please!"

So it was strange to hear an unseen somebody yell "Hurry up!" while Dwyane Wade was talking to media members Saturday.

It turned out to be the voice of LeBron James, playfully irritated that Wade was only seven minutes through his scheduled 10 with reporters. James was on deck.

A few seconds later, James appeared on the stairs next to a dais, stepping toward Wade in mock anger.

The Miami Heat, afraid and insecure facing a 1-0 deficit in the NBA Finals? Not exactly.

But the team should be somewhat worried.

James supplied a moment of levity for a team that had very little of it Thursday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, a 92-88 loss to San Antonio that two days later led Wade to call Sunday's Game 2 "very urgent."

"Obviously you don't want to go down 0-2, going to San Antonio for three straight games," Wade said Saturday. "Odds are not that good. They are not in our favor.

"We're not a team that really says too much 'This is a must-win game,' but this is a must-win game."

Bad odds, indeed.

Only three of 31 teams have come back from 2-0 deficits to win the NBA Finals — Boston against the Lakers (1969), Portland vs. Philadelphia (1977) and, fittingly, Miami vs. Dallas (2006). And no team has won the Finals after losing the first two games at home.

One other anti-Heat stat — teams that win Game 1 are 47-19 in the Finals.

Miami, though, hasn't dropped two games in a row since road losses to Indiana and Portland on Jan. 8 and 10. Simply a lot of winning for the Heat since then.

But how can Miami get the best of the Spurs, who are 13-2 in the playoffs and winners of seven consecutive games?

Unless James gets more help from Wade and Chris Bosh, he might need to match his triple-double efforts of Game 1 . . . if not more. Bosh and Wade combined for two points in the fourth quarter.

Maybe James should try to score more often after getting only 18 points in Game 1 (to go with 18 rebounds and 10 assists).

"I've done more and lost before," he said. "When I was in Cleveland, we played Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals and I think I averaged 38, 36, or whatever I averaged. I guess I should have done more in that series as well. But I can't."

He can try to jump-start Wade, who hasn't been quite the same since sustaining a bruised right knee in early March and continually getting banged on it during games.

"I think it's more important for him than anyone on our team . . . as far as getting him an easy one, seeing the ball go in," James said. "When you're a scorer, the best thing for you to do is to get an easy one, a dunk or a layup, and it makes the game much easier for you."

Wade was having a breezy time in Game 1, scoring 17 points through three quarters, but he took only two shots after that, missed both and went scoreless in the fourth.

"I've been in this [physical] state for almost three months now," he said. "I've adjusted to playing with it. You just got to do what you have to do. So I try to be different tomorrow, try to be a little more aggressive, a little better especially in the second half, and the fourth quarter."

While James and Wade faced more than 30 questions from reporters Saturday, there were only two questions for Tim Duncan and three for Tony Parker. The Spurs simply aren't the hot commodity in these Finals.

They're winning quietly, as they often do, hoping nobody notices until it's all over.

"We definitely are having fun," Parker said. "I think we appreciate every moment. We don't take anything for granted because it's been a long time. It's been six years. Felt like forever."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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