Sunday, December 2, 2012
Dwyane Wade And The 2006 Finals
I was watching a Heat/Celtics game at a Dallas bar recently, and the consensus was that Dwyane Wade is a “cheater” who “stole” the 2006 Finals from the Mavericks. At the very least, the majority of sports fans in the Metroplex are dubious about the circumstances surrounding Dallas’ loss to Miami.
Wade attempted 97 free throws in that six-game series, the most in the history of the NBA. In the Heat’s pivotal Game 5 win, he had 25 free throws, as many as the entire Maverick roster. ESPN’s Bill Simmons summed up the feelings of many Dallas fans: “I just don’t see how there’s any way this can happen in a fairly-called game. It’s theoretically impossible.” Wade’s record-setting performance does need an explanation, but as so often happens in life, it’s a little more complicated than a conspiracy theory.
While the ’06 Mavericks were an excellent team, they were uniquely vulnerable to dribble penetration from a big, athletic guard in ways that most Finals teams throughout history weren’t. Dallas was constructed specifically to beat Tim Duncan's Spurs, their division rival who had sent them home twice earlier in the decade.