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Planes, Trains and (Taxi) Automobiles

Now that the Heat has been safely transported back to Miami having secured homecourt advantage with a 1-1 Wade-Hawks playoff series split in Atlanta, I'm now wondering which method of transportation was the biggest key to Wednesday's stunning Game 2 victory.

Let's start with the plane.

On a night when there was no lack of motivation around the team - from coach Erik Spoelstra's Tupac-style challenge to his team's pride on the locker room game board, to Dwyane Wade telling joking teammates to "shut up and get focused" - perhaps the biggest boost came from Alonzo Mourning.

It was Mourning who boarded a flight from Miami to Atlanta with the sole purpose of delivering a message to Wade in the team's hotel before the game. Zo apparently went to Wade's room for a heart-to-heart. Wade-ZO The miracle in the equation, considering Zo's gift for gab once he gets going, is that Wade made it out of there in time for the game.

"I told D. Wade I could be on the golf course right now, but I didn't like what I saw in Game 1," Mourning said in TNT and Sun Sports interviews during the Game 2 broadcasts. "The team feeds off his energy, regardless. He's proven to be a great defensive player, and he needs to show that."

Then, there's the train.

Somehow, Wade managed to leave the hotel super early to get to Philips Arena to work out several hours before the game. Wade has done this before after he's had a bad game. And while a 19-point playoff effort might be worth celebrating for anyone else on the roster, it was a sub-par Game 1 offering from Mr. No. 3.

But Wade managed to get to the arena in time to beat the afternoon train that passes through the loading dock area outside the bowels of Philips Arena. That same train would hold up more than a few cars attempting to get to the arena later in the day.

Perhaps Wade might have turned around and headed back to the hotel had he been stuck in traffic to long. Then, that three-point shooting display he put on (6 of 10) en route to Wednesday's 33-point outburst might never have happened.

Which brings us to the automobile.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra added more intrigue to what might become a legendary Wade story on Thursday, when he revealed that Wade and sidekick Daequan Cook took a taxi to get to the arena early to work on their shooting before Game 2. It resulted in both of them setting playoff career highs by Taxi making 6 treys on a night when the Heat set a franchise playoff record by making 15 overall. It was also the first time in playoff history that two players on the same team each made at least six threes in the same game.

Just imagine Wade hopping in a taxi in downtown Atlanta and telling the driver to take him to the arena - and the driver actually getting him there in one piece without taking him the scenic route.

Shouldn't he have ended up on a backstreet in Bankhead?

That's how it probably would have played out in New York, had the Heat played the Knicks.

Wade wouldn't dare step into a cab in Dallas, where his photo is still on Most Wanted Lists for that assault he committed against the Mavericks three years ago in the Finals.

That might tell you something about Atlanta as a sports town.  

Thanks to a credible cabbie, an inspired Alonzo and a timely train, it was just meant to be Wade's night against the Hawks. 

It might just prove to be the tipping point in the series. 

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports)


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