There were so many times when this relationship might have frayed then failed. So many chances for the egos of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to chafe and grind and send this grand experiment crashing.
Instead, the splendid coexistence of two men is lifting the Heat toward an NBA championship, still two victories away and still in sight.
Instead, two friends are lifting each other and taking Miami — team and city — with them.
Tuesday only meant this:
Some heavy lifting remains, and right now one man, Wade, is doing most of it and the other, James, is being carried by his older teammate.
Miami has succeeded all season because Wade and James have meshed as equal partners, but right now, there isn’t a lot of equality in terms of scoring contribution. The senior partner Wade is doing his share and more.
It is time for LeBron James to step up.
The Heat squandered a chance to seize total command of these NBA Finals, losing 86-83 to even the series at 2-2 entering Thursday’s game back here. The Heat has not lost consecutive games since early March. Better not start now.