This one is a rejoinder from my column in ph.nba.com:
Every one says that in the NBA playoffs, emotions run high. But all this talk, it really is what every team thinks of the Miami Heat.
There was Boston’s Rajon Rondo talking about putting the Heat on the floor following Game One’s loss where Miami charged the Celtics’ lane like it was a layup line.
After Dwyane Wade sounded off about retaliation, Rondo backtracked and said that it was meant figuratively. Of course. Hahaha.
However, beginning the Eastern semis, the Heat had been jawing with their opponent. Their first round opponent, the New York Knicks, had internal issues and were in no shape to revisit their heated rivalry with Miami. They were bounced in five.
Come the Eastern semis with Indiana, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel set the tone for the series when he pronounced Miami as “ the biggest flopping team in the NBA. Added Vogel: "It’ll be very interesting to see how the referees officiate the series and how much flopping they reward. Every drive to the basket they have guys not making a play on the ball. But sliding in front of drivers. Often times they’re falling down even before contact is even being made. It’ll be interesting to see how the series is officiated.”
Aside from Tyler Hansbrough, Lance Stephenson (who made a choking gesture at the Heat), and Danny Granger, Indiana’s Roy Hibbert got into it as well: “We didn't do it the easy way. It took time. We didn't do this by signing a couple of superstars.”
A fuming Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, just hours before tip-off of Game Six said, “In nine games now there's been over a dozen hard fouls to the face, some of the tomahawk variety, some have drawn blood …"
"It's been altercations that you can look at and say probably won't happen during the regular season and probably wouldn't happen if you were playing outside basketball," Wade said. "It's the playoffs and emotions get high and things happen."
Luckily, this is the NBA and not the NHL. In the NBA it’s all macho posturing. But that’s good, right? The sport does not need another Malice at the Palace or Kermit Washington nearly killing Rudy Tomjanovich.
How heated are these playoffs? Well, it has spilled over to the ESPN studios where Stephen A. Smith once more belittled Skip Bayless on First Take: “You picked the Heat to win the Finals. You didn’t want them to lose Game One but you picked the Celtics to win Game One. So no matter what you were slicing no matter what outcome happens you’re right. Even when you’re wrong you’re right. Because even when you were right, even when you’re wrong, you’re meant to be right. But you were really wrong. It doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s all over the place it’s hedging your bets and not having the courage to stand up and go like this, ‘You know I was wrong. I called it. I own it.’
At least it’s better to jaw with another person. The Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire knows that one cannot punch the crap out of a fire extinguisher.