Did the Heat lose in the Finals last year because LeBron played like he was scared? Did they lose because J.J. Barea went off? Did they lose because Dirk did everything outside of morphing into Larry Bird to stop them? Dwyane Wade doesn’t believe any of that was the real reason they lost. The Heat lost because of misplaced emotion. Wade and his teammates wanted to win to spite people because so much of the public actively hated them. Public Enemy No. 1. Even Ice Cube in his heyday never felt this hated. And yet Wade told Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on his radio show that the team was wrongly fueled by hate, and didn’t win the championship because of that. Do you buy it? Teams have long had different or even unusual motives for winning championships. But we aren’t sure if we’ve ever heard of a squad who wanted to win just so they could rub it into the faces of every fan across the country. Some guys play really well when they’re angry. Others don’t. Wade is basically saying they can’t be those guys, that Miami needs to have fun in order to play their best. That comes from their best player – LeBron – who needs to be feeling free and excited. Otherwise, as we’ve seen in the last few postseasons, he seems to shrivel up at the big moment … Chauncey Billups says he’s willing to sacrifice his whole salary this year – around $14 million – to get a good deal for the players. At first, you read that and it sounds great. Then you realize what he means is that he’s not worried about sitting out the whole year. He’ll do it. But he did leave some hope, saying he doesn’t believe the majority of the players will be willing to give up a whole year and sit out a season … Steve Nash continued his own running dialogue of the lockout yesterday as well, saying the whole situation is “a big mess” and that he doesn’t blame the fans at all for being heated. The lockout has played out through selfish reasons on both sides. The only real part that frustrates us is that every day we hear stuff like this, and every day the outlook looks better. We find some hope in the players. But inevitably something pulls us down. It’s a never-ending cycle. Lockout talks will continue this weekend with what is expected to be a huge turnout on Saturday … Since we’ve gone basically all summer without any trade rumors (how weird does that feel?), here’s one that Marc Stein reported: sources are saying that the Texas Legends will acquire the No. 2 pick in the D-League draft for the rights to Justin Dentmon. That’s not quite Carmelo-to-NYC … To get back to basketball, Arron Afflalo had a great talk recently with SI.com. Afflalo is a rare player in that he knows his place in the league, and everything he does, everything he works on, is built to make himself the best possible player in that role. He approaches the game like he knows he’ll probably never be an All-Star, and because of that, he looks like he could be the missing piece for a few teams. In the interview, the possibility of going to Chicago came up. Afflalo admits his agent has already talked to him about the Bulls. While we still believe the Bulls need one more perimeter player who can create his own shot, Afflalo would fit in really well there. He also talked about the Carmelo trade, stopping short of saying it helped the team but rather that everything for him changed. He had the ball more. He was attacking more and expanding his game. Looking back on the trade now, who do you think won? Was it the team that got the depth (Denver) or the one who got the star (New York)? … Oliver Miller – that really overweight dude who used to play for the Suns – pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and carrying a handgun. The story goes that Miller hit his girlfriend’s brother repeatedly in the head with the gun after an argument. For once in his career, the center tried to play the tough guy … And Dwight Howard‘s celebrity game in Orlando is officially a go next Sunday (Nov. 13) at UCF. The game starts at 7 p.m., doors open an hour earlier. The “D12 All Star Charity Game” has already confirmed these players: Howard, Brandon Bass, Carlos Arroyo, Chris Duhon, Daniel Orton, DeShawn Stevenson, Drew Gooden, Earl Clark, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson, Matt Barnes, Mike Miller, Penny Hardaway, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Rashard Lewis, Steve Francis (!), Trevor Ariza and Vince Carter … We’re out like trade rumors.
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