Mike Wise co-wrote a book with Shaquille O'Neal. They have been friendly for a long time.
He's also a very good NBA reporter.
But today, I think his friendship is clouding his judgment just a little when he first goes on about how unfair the refs are to Shaquille O'Neal, and then he says that purely because of O'Neal's will, the Heat will prevail:
This series tilted toward Miami tonight, and it's going to stay that way. Dallas has the talent and the depth, but they don't have the desire of a 34-year-old man trying to prove he's not washed-up and ready for retirement.
"You know, he's back," Wade said. "I think he understands that this team needs him. We need his personality also. You know, when he's quiet, the team kind of gets quiet. But when he's alive, we're alive."
Shaq's back, which means one thing:
Dallas is done.
O'Neal was very effective last night, especially thanks to those nice rebounds. He had one spinning power move that showed real athleticism.
But he is no longer the most important player on the floor. I don't buy it. It's a new era for him.
Yes, if he plays well, the Heat win--because Dwyane Wade, James Posey, and Udonis Haslem are playing at a very high level every game.
I'm also totally convinced that there's plenty of fight left in Dallas. I'm just positive this series is far from over.
These NBA Finals will end next Thursday night, in Dallas, at a late hour. Either Dwyane Wade or Dirk Nowitzki will be sticky with champagne, wearing a goofy baseball cap and a hastily printed shirt, accepting a Finals MVP award from David Stern. Whoever it is will be there because he has fewer members of his supporting cast (players like O'Neal) wilt under the pressure of an intense seven game NBA Finals.