If I had the comic book knowledge to drop a proper Batman-to-Robin analysis here, I’d do it. Instead, I’ll just make up my own.
Remember that time when Batman appeared lost and out-of-sorts? Joker had him reeling and on the edge of destruction. Fortunately, Robin rose just at the right time, sustained Batman until he was “woke” enough to carry them home. Well, you probably shouldn’t, since that episode never happened.
However, if you watched the Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers Eastern Conference Finals Game 2, you kind of did. Because that’s exactly what happened.
And it started in Game 1.
Through the first two games, Dwyane Wade has outscored LeBron James in this ECF round against the Pacers. In Game 1, Wade finished with 27 points, to LeBron’s 25. Again, in Game 2, Wade outscored LeBron 23-22. And for the most part, there wasn’t any point in this series in which LeBron dominated an extended period of time. He had a great couple minute spurts in Game 1, but not one’s of the variety that we’re used to seeing from him.
Until Game 2’s fourth quarter.
In that period, both Wade and LeBron dominated, dictated and dethroned. The duo shot 9-for-12 in the final frame as the Heat outscored Indiana by five on their way to an 87-83 series tying victory.
Wade and LeBron combined for 22 of the Heat’s 25 points in the frame. Alone, they outscored Indiana 22-20 in the period. LeBron finally imprinted his presence on the series. It may have taken seven quarters, but it came — with a little help from Wade.
Without Wade, the Heat wouldn’t have even been in the game. There would have been no epic fourth quarter by LeBron, and there would have been no 1-1 series. And for a moment during Tuesday’s Game 2, it was beginning to look that way.
But every time the Pacers were looking to create some distance between them and the Heat, Miami found a way to crawl their way back into the game. And more often than not, Wade was at the center of it all.
Perhaps this play had more significance than just a putback slam.
Every time LeBron needed him, Wade was there.
And then, when LeBron was finally ready to go, both Batman and Robin disposed of the Joker in timely fashion, with a little bit of flare here and there as they showed flashes of their early years.
I’m not sure if Wade can sustain averaging 25 points per game in this series, but what he did on Tuesday night could be a turning point in this series. Instead of being down 2-0 against the Pacers, the Heat have, in a way, regained control of this series. They have stolen homecourt advantage — what the Pacers worked all season long for — and have given themselves a great opportunity to take a stranglehold of the series by simply protecting their homecourt.
If the Heat go on to win the series, which most expect them to do, we have to look back at Game 2 and credit Wade. Even if he goes back to averaging 15 points, or something around that, he was huge when LeBron needed him most. It’s exactly what LeBron didn’t have in Cleveland, and exactly the reason why he “took his talents to South Beach.”
For a moment, Robin outshined Batman in the hypothetical antidote that I poetically made up earlier in this post. Similarly, Wade carried LeBron in Game 2 for a moment, just like old times.
Even if we never see it again, it could be the reason why this team gets a shot at a Three-Peat. But until Robin re-emerges, we (and the Heat) will always have Game 2.
The day Robin saved Batman.