Here's what it looked like as it happened, with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers tied at 88 and just over 90 ticks left on the game clock:
Here's what it looked like from on high and through the eyes of the Czar of the Telestrator, Mike Fratello:
The Lakers didn't score another point after Dwyane Wade picked Kobe Bryant's pocket and fed a streaking LeBron James for a transition dunk, as Miami went on to seal a 94-88 victory at the American Airlines Arena. The win snapped a widely publicized five-game losing streak, clinched a playoff berth and, perhaps most importantly, gave Erik Spoelstra's players some respite from the thousand-pound weight that's been sitting on their chests for the past week.
There'll be a rush to characterize this moment as a turning point — from a pair of timely quick-twitch, instinct-over-intellect reactions, to extrapolate grander psychological, emotional and narrative significance. And who knows? In two months' time, maybe we will look back at this game, this win, this play as a line of demarcation. Or maybe we'll look at it as an inevitable regression to the mean, just one of 82, nothing more and nothing less.
No matter how much cultural and thematic gravity we eventually decide Thursday's game merits, though, we'll have to admit that the ending had a sharp bit of comic timing. The Heat won on this particular play by doing two things they've done all year — play aggressive defense and get buckets on the break. Not by pretending to be something they aren't or pursuing a new lease on life. They just shut up and played. Word to Chris Webber.
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Miami Heat
- Dwyane Wade
- Kobe Bryant
- Mike Fratello