MIAMI — Everyone else danced around the question. Game 2 is important because all NBA Finals games are important, most Heat players said. Which is true. But some games are more important than others.
Just think if if Miami drops its first two games at home…
“We’re not a team that really says too much, ‘this is a must win game.’ But this is a must win game,” Dwyane Wade admitted. “For us we have to win this game at home. We have to come out and play a lot better and we also expect San Antonio to play a lot better, shoot a lot better, a little better from what they did in Game 1.”
Miami has not dropped back-to-back games since mid-January, and to a man the Spurs expected a much more aggressive Heat team that tries to use its athleticism, its speed to try and force the issue more than they did in Game 1. The Spurs packed the paint and the Heat took the bait and kicked out shots from the paint to more open ones outside (which they missed). Don’t expect that to be the case Sunday night.
But why is it the Heat seemed to need to be punched in the gut to pick up their intensity?
“Our effort is usually better after a loss,” Shane Battier said of his Heat. “I think we listen better, our eyes are open a little more, our ears are open a little more.
“Every loss we’ve had, we haven’t expected to go out and play better, we make it happen, and that’s the biggest thing about this team.”
With the Heat having hung a banner last year and having lost the first game in more than one series, there was plenty of confidence from them.
“We’ve been pretty confident all year, regardless of the circumstances,” Ray Allen said. “We’ve been in pretty — based on basketball standards — dire situations where we had to come out and win. We taught ourselves different lessons throughout the year.”
Allen and the other Heat players wouldn’t go where Wade did, they said that all finals games are important.
But to paraphrase (and bastardize) George Orwell: All Finals games are created equal, but some are more equal than others.