If comedian, actor and hard-core Philadelphia 76ers fan Kevin Hart shows up for Game 3 at AmericanAirlines Arena Thursday night, he can expect to receive the cold shoulder from Dwyane Wade.
“I don't really care,” the Heat's veteran guard answered when asked if Hart, a Philadelphia native and friend, was coming for Thursday's game. “We’re not friends right now. We made it very clear we're not friends now, but we'll be friends after the playoffs is over with. We’re not friends. I don’t like him.”
Hart, who rang the Sixers' miniature version of the Liberty Bell at half court prior to Game 2, spent all night Monday talking trash to Wade, Udonis Haslem and the rest of the Heat's roster.
In the end, Wade got the final word.
“Kevin Hart,” Wade told ESPN sideline reporter Ramona Shelburne of what got into him after his 28-point heroic performance in the Heat's Game 2 victory. “Thank Kevin Hart for that.”
After getting word of Wade's comments, Hart responded with a video on Instagram.
“Well played, Dwyane. Well played,” Hart said on his flight home, according to TMZ. “You gonna blame this on me — blame Kevin Hart? Oh, I see what you're doing. On ESPN, you gonna say that? WELL LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, SUCKA! We bout to come to Miami and heat it up, you hear me?
“I’m frustrated. I’m pissed.”
Wade responded to Hart on Twitter, using emojis to tell Hart he wasn't allowed to continue his pestering of the Heat because his wife wouldn't allow him to come Miami, a site of Hart’s previous infidelities.
Hart laughed it off.
Wade’s teammates say they have enjoyed the playful exchange between the celebrity and future Hall of Famer.
"We’ll see if he comes out to our building," Wayne Ellington said Thursday after shoot around. "It was cool though. Adds more fuel to the fire.”
What was Hart telling Heat players before and during the game?
“I saw him before stretch,” Ellington said. “He looked at me and was like ‘I'm in y’all [expletive] tonight.’ I said ‘Man, sit your little butt down.’ But it’s all fun and jokes. Obviously he's a comedian. That’s his job.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Aside from the pestering from Hart, how tough was it playing in Philly?
"Philly is a great sports city," Heat guard Tyler Johnson said. "If you can take the heat while you're there, if you can withstand all the things they're going to throw at you, then it's going to be easy to play in another city."
▪ Wade, 36, started the first 172 playoff games he played in. So what has it been like adjusting to coming off the bench in the playoffs for the first time in his career?
"It's definitely been different, but I've been just trying to focus on what I need to do when I get in the game," Wade said. "I've been trying to talk to the guys that are out there, trying to help them with what I see, what they need to do, try to be more of a cheerleader in that, to keep yourself engaged, but also watch. Because you do get a chance to kind of sit back and watch to see how the game and the flow is going. And when you get out there, you'll hopefully be able to jump right into it from what you've seen. So it's been different. In my 15 years, to come off the bench, in here, in the playoffs, is something that I never thought I would do. But I also never thought I would be playing 15 years."
▪ Wade and coach Erik Spoelstra expressed sympathy for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose wife, Erin, passed away Wednesday after a long battle with an illness. The Heat and Spurs met in back-to-back NBA Finals in 2013 and 2014 with each team winning once.
“A lot of guys around the league respect Coach Pop," Wade said. "And I think a lot of it was from the relationship that he has with players. When you hear news of anyone in this league dealing with anything from a standpoint of tragedy in their families, it always touches you, it always makes the world stop. It makes you have a moment to pray for them, for his family, because it's a tough time.
“I think LeBron said it best [Wednesday night], we all compete against each other in this league. But in some form, in some way, it's a bond and brotherhood in the game of basketball for everybody. So it's a sad moment for the NBA whenever someone loses someone close to him, like Coach Pop did.”
Said Spoelstra: “It’s saddening news. It caught all of us by surprise and all you can do is send all your thoughts and prayers to the Popovich family. I can‘t even imagine going through that. Four decades of marriage — that in itself is incredible. All of Heat nation and the entire NBA fraternity sends our thoughts.”