A chance for another championship ahead of him, Dwyane Wade refused to look back.
No, he said, the answer as quick and forceful as his first step to the basket. He doesn't consider that the Miami Heat should have a 3-0 lead in the NBA finals.
The margin is 2-1, close on the scoreboard even though it doesn't feel that way on the floor. The Heat repeatedly have built double-digit cushions against the Dallas Mavericks, and a late collapse in Game 2 is all that's keeping them from the lead that's never been blown in an NBA series.
"You can't think about stuff like that. Everything in life happens for a reason," Wade said Monday. "If we come in and we win that game, if we run away with that game, I don't know if our sense of urgency is the same in Game 3. Who knows? So our sense of urgency was that way for a reason. We lost the game we know we shouldn't. We are up 2-1. That's what we have to focus on."
The Heat insist the game isn't as easy as Wade and LeBron James are making it look, and the Mavericks refuse to admit they might just be facing a superior foe.
"We're just too stubborn," point guard Jason Kidd said.
Game 4 is tonight, and a Heat victory would put them in position to win a second championship on the Mavericks' floor if they followed that with another one Thursday.
Wade clutched the finals MVP trophy that night five years ago, already a superstar in just his third NBA season, and figured he would be back plenty of times. Instead, the Heat never contended again — partially because they were clearing salary cap space for last summer — until James and Bosh agreed to join him.
With that trio together, the Heat could win multiple titles, but Wade doesn't want to wait.
That's why he and the Heat could be disappointed about where the series stands. They led by 12 in Game 1, were up 15 with 7:14 to go in Game 2, and they had a series of double-digit advantages in Game 3, when it peaked at 14 points. Forcing turnovers on defense that sent Wade and James off for fast-break dunks, it's often appeared they could run away from the Mavericks whenever they wanted.
Yet Dallas rallied to pull out Game 2 and kept coming back Sunday before falling 88-86. And though they've been playing from behind, the Mavs remain unconvinced that's where they'll end up.
"I still feel like we're going to be NBA champs this year," center Tyson Chandler said. "It's going to be a tough road, but I feel like we're willing to do it."