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Immitation. Flattery. Friday’s decisive sequence when LeBron James’ sideline-out-of-bounds pass turned into Dwyane Wade’s winning layup had it all.
Perhaps that because the Heat had seen that, lost that.
For that matter, most of the league saw what Boston Rajon Rondo did to the Heat with sixth-tenths of a second to play in a Jan. 6, 2010 Heat loss to the Celtics, including a LeBron James who had yet to join the Heat.
“Y’all seen it when Rondo got that one against y’all in the Triple-A,” James said in the wake of Friday’s 103-101 escape act in Minnesota. “So we stole it. We stole it.”
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Actually, the Heat stole a page from their own playbook, having failed to properly execute the set moments earlier.
“We kind of ran something similar to that a couple plays before that,” Wade said. “I knew that I messed it up a little bit. At the time, we said we might have to come back to that.”
It was Wade who asked for the second chance.
“We botched it totally,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I was actually going to diagram something else, but Dwyane brought it up. We both saw something.”
For a split second, though, James nearly saw disaster, when Wade momentarily slipped on his looping curl, forcing a flatter pass than James had anticipated.
But then Wade turned into Rondo and all was right again in Spoelstra’s world.
“It’s something I’ve sat with now for two and a half years,” Spoelstra said. “We got burned on that play. I lost about a week of sleep.”
The video of Friday’s winning play is above.
The video of Rondo’s hearbreaking play from two seasons ago is below.