On one channel, we have the Rockies savaging the hottest team in the American League for the second straight night in a row. We even had a J.D. Closser sighting. What more could you ask for? Then over on ABC, we have an NBA Finals that is rapidly descending into utter farce. After an exciting postseason that's succeeded in getting me into basketball for the first time in years, it's come down to a battle between an exciting, ball-moving team that hustles on defense and has an entire roster of guys who can score creatively and the Heat. Miami is slow on defense, lazy on offense, and is on the verge of winning this series because the Finals officials have a man-crush on Dwyane Wade.
At the end of Game 5, the Heat ran a "play" for Wade that involved the other four Miami players staying on the bench while Wade attempted to "break down" Dallas's entire five-man defense. Wade first committed a backcourt violation, then took several unauthorized steps, and finally jumped up and threw his body in the general direction of the four guys guarding him while loosing a wild shot. None of the Maverick defenders were actually in any position to foul Wade, since by that point in the game he had been awarded more free throws than Dallas as a team. Yet a foul was called, Wade (to his credit) hit his shots, and the series returned to Dallas 3-2 in favor of the Heat.
In the first half of Game 6, Wade has (by my count) drawn four "fouls" that did not involve any contact on the part of Dallas's defenders, who by this time are laying off him to the extent that Dwyane is essentially playing HORSE out there. For a while, I thought that this was something Dallas was just going to have to overcome by playing more aggressively on offense themselves, settling for fewer jump shots and doing whatever it took to try and make up the discrepancy at the foul line, possibly by taking a cue from Wade and brazenly hurling themselves into opposing defenders. Then midway into the second quarter Wade drove the lane on Marquis Daniels, who wisely decided to concede the layup and get the hell out of the way, and the referee whistled Daniels for a foul despite the fact that he did not physically touch Wade at any time. This is crazy! And I thought the excess of yellow and red cards in the World Cup was bad!
Clearly the Mavericks will have to build a 20-point lead going into the fourth quarter of the game tonight or Wade will simply work his Team Italy flop routine into 15 more free throws and win the Heat this series. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to write Bill Simmons an angry e-mail.