5 Ways to Beat the Heat (from an Objective* Viewpoint)
It’s summer time and it’s hot. There are many ways to beat that summer heat, like staying indoors, being in the pool, or if you don’t have one, plunging your face in a large bowl of cold water. But that’s not the sort of heat I am talking about. I am talking about the Miami Heat. The NBA basketball team.
It’s been about five years since the Mavericks last played them in the finals. Some are still haunted by that loss. My best friend still has nightmares about Dwyane Wade from the last finals. She says she swears she saw him—after winning the final game— look into the camera and fix his lips to say, “WE DID THIS IN YOUR HOME.” I am not so sure if I remember this. Some of us were too sad and embarrassed about that last game and about that whole finals series; some of us can’t remember anything that was said in those final moments of that final game.
Five years later, and the set up looks and feels eerily familiar. But one thing has changed. The Mavericks seem to have a good look going for them. They are older, but maybe they are wiser. For instance, the Mavericks seem to take their accomplishments with great humility whereas the Heat spend so much time celebrating their minor achievements–i.e. conspicuously gloating about a teammate’s or one’s own slam dunk. You don’t really see the Mavs doing stuff like that. (This is of course not taking into consideration that Jet got a tattoo with a championship trophy on it. Do I condone that? No. Do I believe it was a bit reckless to get a tat considering the Maverick’s record against the Heat, on an arm that is needed to secure that very preconceived notion seared into it?? Yes, I do. But that’s a minor deviation from the all-in-all sophisticated and cautious demeanor of the Mavericks.)
Because the Mavericks are really putting in some effort at the finals this time, many fans believe that the Mavericks have a chance. Here are some very objective tips that are sure to help them beat the Heat:
1. Strong defense: For some reason, the Mavs just sort of stand around and allow the Heat to make their shots. Why are they doing this? This past game was a little better for the Mavs in that regard. Some people also say that this past game was a lot easier to watch, they only had to drink warm milk to calm their nerves instead of popping a sleeping pill. This is because the Mavs put on a stronger defense and didn’t just welcome the Heat to make shots. That’s nice to hear. As long as the Mavs continue to exercise strong defense, they will have a better chance at winning the championship title.
2. Don’t play hot potato; this is basketball: Often times I see the team treating the basketball like it is a hot-potato. You know— that game we used to play when we were kids, where music plays and you toss around the potato until the music stops and you hope you are not the one left holding the potato. I feel like the Mavs kind of get confused out there. They seem to revert to their six-year oldselves, playing hot potato with friends instead of basketball. They should simply remember that the basketball is not a hot potato, and they shouldn’t be afraid to have it in their hands. Rather than pass it around to their teammates excessively, they need to put it in the basket before the music turns off… I mean the shot clock goes off. When you keep passing it around like that, it’s easier for the opponent to intercept, and it’s easier to make mistakes that the other team can benefit from. This is the sort of thing that has happened with the Mavs in the past, most notably in the 2006 championship finals. So if they can realize the differences between a hot potato and basketball game, they should be fine.
3. Feign bravery: Even if the Mavs are afraid they should pretend that they are the exact opposite. Ward the haters off. Don’t let them smell your panic. I mean, even though some people may dislike the Heat, they seem to have this conspicuous-to-where-it-is-scary desire to make a basket. I don’t know what goes on in their heads when they have the b-ball in their hands, but you can feel that they are on a mission, and they will answer to no one until they execute it. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of times during the finals, the Mavs will play hot potato instead of basketball. To me, when people are passing the ball around excessively, they are afraid. They are silently saying, “no I don’t want it, you take it; if I miss, that’s on me; if you miss, that’s on you.” In lieu of that, they should have a sort of fierce look in their eyes. Maybe put a Band-Aid on a cheek or some of that warrior paint under the eyes. You wouldn’t picture yourself playing hot potato looking rough and tough, would you? So do whatever it takes to look intimidating. If you dress the part, maybe you will play the part.
4. Give Dirk a break: Sure, he’s the star player. Sure, he gets paid a lot. But why are y’all making him work so hard to the point where he is getting a fever? Sinus infection? You think it’s really a sinus infection? Poor Dirk is sick of disappointment, sick of being let down–sick like the rest of us. OK, I am exaggerating. That is not true. I don’t know why I said that. I guess I am a little bitter; I am projecting, and I shouldn’t do that. This should be an objective piece, and now I am engaging it in a very subjective way. My point is, maybe Dirk should be sick. Even if he stops being sick, people should just tell the Mavs that he still has a fever, and maybe they will play as they did in game four—like they should have been playing the whole time during this finals series. You know, like part of the team.
5. Follow the Wizard’s Advice: Play like the Scarecrow, Lion, and the Tinman—post visiting the Wizard of Oz. First, play smart. Use accuracy and precision to outbrain the other team. Show them that you’ve studied them, and you’ve practiced too hard to fail, but you will not. Second, play with courage—like you own the court. Exploit their fears, and mask your own. Finally, play with heart. How much does that ring mean to you? How much do you love your team, your city, you fans, and the game? In the words of Avery Johnson, when the Mavericks played the Pistons in some important game “[You] gotta play like [You] gotta have it.” Why not play like that? You’ve made it down the yellow-brick road; all you have to do is get what you came for. If you happen to be on their court for the final game—feeling lost and home sick—just remember the words of Glinda the Good Witch: “Home is …knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we’re always home, anywhere.” And with a few clicks of your sneakers, you’ll get that ring and come back to a place you never actually left, realizing there is no feeling like bringing a championship home.
And those, my friends, are five simple ways to beat the Heat, delivered from a very objective point of view.
*I started to realize later that this is not so objective, but I like the title, so I decided to keep it the same and make this little footnote to clear up any confusion about the objectivity of this piece.