Then, this happened:
And the rest is history. You all know the story by now: the Mavs went on a run and incredibly won the game. And the other story you all know now: that play above DID NOT MEAN ANYTHING. At least, that’s what the general sports media wants to tell you. I have read more articles based on the premise “Everyone is going to say Wade’s taunting changed the game, but that’s not what happened!” than I have articles that actually said “Wade’s taunting changed the game.”
There are many excuses people use to downplay Wade’s taunt, but the typical argument usually goes, “Were the Mavs not trying their hardest to win before the taunt?” Well, have you ever been taunted before? It drives you crazy, and kicks up some weird primal hormones in your brain. You become less rational and more controlled by your base instincts. The rational Mavs were probably thinking, “Tonight’s not our night. It is a best of 7 series after all, so even if we blow this we are going home and can still turn it around.” They were stuck on 73 points for about four minutes of gametime in the fourth quarter. Then the Wade taunt erased all common sense, and the Mavs played like raging bulls.
If taunting did not matter, we would be taunting all the time. Taunting is a fun activity – who doesn’t love putting others down to hide your insecurity? On this site alone, both Keith and I wrote taunting articles towards each other regarding the Knicks and the Nets. But, taunt the wrong person, and you will pay. And that’s what happened last night.