Miami Nobody does premature jubilation like the Heat.
At least nobody gets killed for it publicly quite like they do when they let their hair down and unleash a primal scream or two.
Remember the public pep rally to introduce the Superfriends last July?
Oh, how Basketball America hated that night.
How about the sloppy hugfest that followed a second-round series win over the Celtics?
Too soon, the national media said.
The Heat’s latest crime came late Thursday night with the extended hoo-hah following Dwyane Wade’s three-pointer with a little over seven minutes to play.
That ear-splitting sendup at AmericanAirlines Arena seemed to push the Mavericks’ buttons.
“What’s all the music and the dancing and all that kind of stuff?” Dallas center Tyson Chandler recalled thinking after his team fell behind by 15 points. “I looked up and said, ‘Is the game over?’”
One of the great comebacks in NBA Finals history was just getting started.
And get this: Plenty of folks outside South Florida are blaming the Heat and their home fans for igniting that 22-5 Mavericks run to the final buzzer.
“It was a turning point in the game,” Mavericks guard Jason Terry said. “Seeing them celebrate like that, man, it really was disheartening for us.”
OK, so Wade did strike a pose with his shooting hand that made you wonder if Madame Tussauds had opened a Miami location.
And, yes, he did that directly in front of the Mavericks bench, clearly pleased with what turned out to be his 36th and final points of the night.
A Dallas timeout — and the accompanying, drawn-out call from PA man Michael Baiamonte — only added to the moment.
LeBron James rushed over to deliver a mock three-punch combination to Wade’s chest.
Again, right in the front of the visitors’ bench.
But that was it.
I even went back and watched the replay, just to make sure I didn’t miss any cartwheels, backflips, unicyclists or sword-swallowing.
“There was no celebration,” Wade said. “A celebration is confetti, champagne bottles.”
Checked for those too. Nothing.
Although I could see where Banana Man might tick off the Mavs.
“It was no celebration at all,” James said. “I was excited about the fact that (Wade) hit a big shot and we went up 15. The same thing we’ve done over the course of the season.”
Ah, but these are the Heat we’re talking about.
Public enemies of basketball purists everywhere.
So, why did the Heat lose Game 2 on Thursday?
It couldn’t have been their failure to use the extra foul they had to give to disrupt that final Mavs possession.
It couldn’t have been the decision to have Chris Bosh cover Nowitzki at the end when Udonis Haslem, maybe the NBA’s leading Dirk Stopper, was guarding Chandler.
And it certainly couldn’t have been the 25 consecutive dribbles — yep, counted ’em — that LeBron took before launching an off-balance three-pointer with 90 seconds left and the Heat still up two.
Why did the Heat lose?
Had to be that on-court celebration.
“Every team in the league, when they go on a run, they do something,” Wade said. “Whether it’s a signal, whether it’s a chest bump. It’s part of the game of basketball.”
Not when the Heat do it.
Then it’s premature jubilation.