Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dwyane Jordan

How good is Dwyane Wade?

Pretty darn good.

He's playing at a level right there with MJ. Don't get me wrong. He's not there yet in terms of a total player. But if His Airness is watching, he should also be feeling nostalgic.

Wade is that close.

He's got that killer instinct going — willing his way out through the defenders and lighting up hopeless situations — like MJ.

He can bring a dead game alive, seal nerve racking games with clutch plays. He makes tightrope walking look easy. For what it is worth, greatness cannot be measured only by numbers or by championship rings but by the moments of living it up when the dead has long left the arena.

MJ had both rings and moments. Rings surrounding the moments, moments surrounding the rings, the two intertwined and inseparable.

Wade is living in the moments. The rings will come.

Sunday night Wade was struggling. But he found his way to get involved, going to the foul line umpteenth times. It was a staggeringly slow rise but when his shot started falling Avery Johnson could only yell at his defenders and Mark Cuban started drafting his protest letter to David Stern.

Now that the sweeping theories have been swept altogether, we are going to Game 6 and a highly probable Game 7, both at Dallas. Fireworks are welcome.

I don't know who's going to win it all. I predicted Heat in six. Now I don't care. Really. I am just glad to watch him play, regardless. If the Heat win, cool, because I always wanted them to. If they don't, no big deal, you cannot take away Games 3 and 5.

You can take the ring, I will take the moments. I won't complain.

When Mavericks literally tore apart the Heat in the first two games, it left me dizzy. I will admit, I was shaken and even started to believe Heat might not be able to get back into the series.

In Game 3, with six minutes left and the Heat down by 13, I felt like switching off the television. It was too painful to watch them disintegrate before my eyes.

And there was Mark Cuban's elated face. Nothing personal but he's one damn smart guy who has got into the heads of the referees.

But I hung in there, glued and quiet. The Heat crawled its way back holding Dwyane's hand to win the game.

Sunday's game, a shamelessly seesawed one, dragged every bit of sweat out of my pores. No, it wasn't about how Heat sneaked out a victory leading the series 3-2. Nor it was about Wade's 43 points and how he came through for the Heat single-handedly carrying them to the victory — again. Because we have seen guys doing that before.

Tonight was about a guy who embodied No. 23 from North Carolina.

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