Apr 5, 2012, 11:13 AM EDT
There is a great line at the end of the classic movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor “Tora Tora Tora” where the after the bombing Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto says, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” (Yes, I know that is not a historically accurate quote, but you’re on a basketball blog so let’s have some latitude here.)
It felt like Russell Westbrook did that to the Heat.
LeBron James was on a breakaway and Westbrook ran him down and went for the foul. The problem is James is so strong he draws the and-1 unless you foul hard — Westbrook fouled LeBron hard but while he was in the air, leading to an awkward landing by LeBron. He walked away from it, but it could have been ugly and Westbrook got a flagrant 1 foul (that would have been a flagrant 2 if James got injured, and we can debate another day whether the luck of the landing should play a part in the severity of the call).
After that, the Heat were even more fired up and went on to win. James and Dwyane Wade talk about the foul and the impact after the game.
The Heat may be one of those rare teams that play better angry. You can bet the Heat remember this if these teams meet again in the finals.
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