DALLAS – Dwyane Wade wasn’t going to use his bruised hip as an excuse. The Dallas Mavericks certainly weren’t going to offer it up as any alibi, either, for Wade’s or the Miami Heat’s performance in Dallas’ 112-103 victory in Game 5 of The Finals on Thursday night.
Wade suffered a left hip contusion in the first quarter, left the game with 2:58 left in the period for treatment in the Heat locker room, returned at 8:52 of the second quarter and missed the first 7:27 of the second half as well.
He played the rest of the game and, with 10 points, was the game’s high scorer in the fourth quarter. Wade led Miami with 23 points, had eight assists and was 10-of-12 from the foul line. But he logged only 34:27 minutes, and the Heat were minus-13 when he was on the court.
“You know I’m not going to [talk about the injury],” Wade told reporters after the game. “It was unfortunate I had to leave the game. But I came back and I finished it.”
It was Wade, remember, who blew off a question about Dirk Nowitzki’s injury (left middle finger) and illness (102-degree fever) between Games 4 and 5. “Everyone is injured at this time,” the Miami shooting guard had said on Wednesday. “I’m not going to get into the fun-loving story of him being sick either. Once you show up on the court, you show up on the court.”
That, then, was how the Mavericks treated Wade’s bruised hip, injured when Dallas’ Brian Cardinal was called for a blocking foul in a heavy collison at 4:01 of the first quarter. They weren’t wringing their hands over Wade’s well-being, nor were they counting on his absence to last long.
“When he came back in the game, he came back aggressive,” Dallas sixth-man Jason Terry said, seemingly biting his tongue. “So I don’t know if he was hurt or what. To us it doesn’t matter. He was on the floor. He got opportunities. He drove to the basket. So he’s a tough cover. If he’s out there, he’s a threat.”
Said Mavericks guard Jason Kidd: “I knew he was going to come back. This is The Finals.”
The stretch of more than 13 minutes during which Wade was off the floor did not cost Miami – the Heat actually was plus-4 while he was out. But he had averaged 32.3 points in Games 2, 3 and 4. He appeared to limp between plays or when he didn’t have the ball, but seemed unfettered when he attacked.
“Once you’re on the court, you’re on the court,” Wade said. “The doctor not ruling me out, I can come out and help my team with my presence on the floor. I’m smart enough to play the game without obviously being 100 percent.”
Wade also said: “I don’t have no excuses. I was able to help my team get an opportunity to win. And I’ll be fine Sunday.”
Teammate LeBron James said little changed for Miami when Wade was out. “It’s nothing you can really change,” James said. “We just try to do the same thing as if he was in, but knowing that one of our scorers is down.”
Down but not out. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the extra day before Game 6 Sunday might be helpful to his recovery. “We’ll see if that’s enough,” Spoelstra said.
Wade already knew. “I’ll be good for Game 6,” he reiterated.
The Mavericks expect no less.