Wade, With Proper Rest, Still Among Best


VIDEO: Check out some of Dwyane Wade’s highlights from Miami’s win over Indiana

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Ever get the feeling that Dwyane Wade is getting to be a lot like the San Antonio Spurs? Reports of demise have been greatly exaggerated.

No, Wade nearing 32 (Jan. 17) isn’t the same as he was at 24. And maybe his near-32-year-old knees are crankier than some others, but let’s stop trying to pretend he’s not still one of the league’s top superstars. And that the Big Three pushing for the first three-peat the league has seen in a dozen years is reduced to the brilliance of LeBron James pulling a one-legged Wade and whatever it is Chris Bosh isn’t on any particular day.

The fact is Wade really is like Batman. Not in the Batman and Robin dynamic duo sense in which we constantly want to slot a team’s two leading stars. Of course we know in that sense LeBron is the ultimate Dark Knight. Wade’s Batman is the Caped Crusader who suddenly appears out of the darkness as a silhouette in the glow of a full moon whenever Gotham needs him most.

And so it was again Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena. The Indiana Pacers, the enemy and the East’s best shot to dethrone the two-time champion Heat, were in town, fresh off a home victory against Miami eight nights earlier and eager for more.

James was trying to shake a sprained ankle from Monday’s game and wasn’t even sure he’d be able to go. This was the Pacers’ moment to pounce, to take the first two of this four-game regular-season grudge match and gain the upper hand in the chase for homecourt advantage, a valuable commodity Indiana desperately wants for when these two titans will certainly clash again in the East finals.

Indiana and its young superstar-to-be Paul George (25 points, eight rebounds, six assists) had it all going their way, leading throughout and ahead by 15 points midway through the third quarter.

And then Wade stripped it all away: 32 points (18 in the second half and nine in the decisive fourth quarter) on 15-for-25 shooting, plus three steals, including one with 7:30 left in the game that prevented Indiana from going back up by eight and instead sliced the deficit to four.

In a pulsating flash, one might say, the incumbent Heat reasserted their dominance over their hard-charging challengers on a night when for so long it seemed it just wasn’t meant to be. James, despite his ailing ankle, finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, including finding Chris Bosh (15 points, eight rebounds) for the game-tying 3 with 1:30 to play and then Ray Allen 31 seconds later for the go-ahead 3.

More than anything, the night was another reminder not to count out Wade, just as he sporadically reminded throughout the 2013 title run all while managing the pain in his knees. And that will be a constant it appears for the remainder of his career. And we’ve seen it already early this season with Wade missing six of the Heat’s first 25 games to ease the soreness and create periods of extended rest. Miami is 16-3 with him and 3-3 without him.

Wade, averaging 19.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 4.8 apg in 33.7 mpg, logged a team-high 37 minutes on Wednesday, his second consecutive game playing every other day following a convenient three-day break after the 90-84 loss at Indiana. The days between focus heavily on preventative maintenance geared toward another June run for the roses.

“He’s very disciplined and dedicated to that routine, and there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes just in terms of his treatment, his corrective exercises, his weightlifting, his conditioning and his basketball work that he’s doing that nobody else sees except for us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “And that’s putting himself in a position not only to play well right now, but build. That’s the idea.”

Wade has played in just two of the Heat’s six games in their three back-to-back sets. After going for 17 points, five rebounds, eight assists and eight steals in 36 minutes in a home win over Dallas, Wade had four points on 1-for-7 shooting the next night at Charlotte. Following that game he skipped the next two games, another back-to-back, with knee soreness, giving him six full days off. His next game he led all scorers with 27 points on 9-for-16 shooting.

By sporadically taking games off, Wade’s been very good in games he’s played on one day’s rest. In 10 of those, he’s averaged 22.8 ppg on 58.6 percent shooting, 5.2 apg and 4.6 rpg in 34.2 mpg. The Heat are 9-1 in those games. Wade’s played four games on two day’s rest, one on three, one on five and two on six or more.

He’s been on the floor for five of the Heat’s six biggest games. In two games against Indiana and one each against the Clippers, Suns and Mavs (Miami’s only games against teams currently with a winning record, plus one against Atlanta that Wade missed), Wade has averaged 23.2 ppg on 57.4 percent shooting (50-for-87), 4.8 rpg, 6.4 apg and 3.4 in 35.0 mpg. The Heat won four of the five.

The legend continues.

37 Comments

  1. Nerf-Basketball-GM says:

    If Chalmers go, so does the team… REAL PGs

  2. Game Time says:

    The Miami chemistry is still and edge over the Pacer’s size and youth. PG is an awesome player at times, but if you notice during crunch time the team tries to turn him into Kobe. Granted he can make the big shots, he often takes tough ones when he could be working the defense to get a team-mate a better shot. Same with Lance, he wants to be the hero so bad. Another series between Miami and Indiana will come down to the stars and who’s healthy.

  3. Tony C says:

    Wade has been playing some great ball all this season. He’s had some crazy dunks, his defense is great, and best of all, he’s consistent throughout the entire game. Maybe it will be the Heat and Thunder in the Finals this season. Durant asked Wade to “show” him that he’s still a superstar in this league. Well, it would be funny if Wade shows him over and over and over and over again in the finals. And then, maybe next time Durant will shut his big mouth.

    • Gerald Carney says:

      Preach…plus all those people ESPN put ahead Wade are all having injury problems or flopping and crying to refs for ghost calls….d rose out…harden feet issue…steph cur concussion and some ankle problem…westbrook doing well but needs take some time off….I just can’t understand how wade ain’t in the top ten….Wade over Harden all day…Wade is a kiila

  4. NBAIQ says:

    Dwyane Wade should lose some weight. Pat Riley was right to challenge him this past off season. I still believe his numbers could be better and the loss of weight would help. It’s harder to lose the weight when you get older but he’s an athlete so it should be easier.

  5. wak9 says:

    go heat!

  6. CM says:

    Lebron is king yes we know. But the heat are going to go as far as Wade goes. Wade is still the captain of the heat, the face of the heat, and the legend of the heat. Also lets not forget…As long as they will play together, Wade will always have one more ring because he is more clutch and more of a champ than king, but they need each other so hope the king stays, but Lebron will not see another ring, with out Flash.

  7. dustydreamnz says:

    I think D Wade has been great this year and has plenty to offer. If they keep resting him he could play til atleast 35.

  8. #MIA4PEAT says:

    Indiana pacers fan are cry baby look at the last shot closely paul George OBVIOUSLY FLOPPED LeBron didn’t even push and hardly even touched him PACER fans are hyprocrites

  9. Daine says:

    If I was D-Wade, I would retire after this season! Especially if they win the Championship! That would be the ultimate way to retire, but even if they don’t get the 3-peat, go out before you fall off like Vince Carter who is pretty much just a 3-point shooter and is only a shell of what he once was. I mean its not worth ruining his knees any longer than this season..

    After this season Lebron should leave Miami, D-Wade should retire, and Chris Bosh should go wherever he fits in. I don’t see the big 3 staying together for too much longer..

    • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

      @Daine, Dumbest comment ever! Go watch soccer! Why retire when you are still killing the league? Ride the train till the wheel falls off! Nothing lasts forever and Wade has a legacy to build. F@CK the stupid so called NBA fans or Heat fans. Real Heat Fans Stand up!

    • yyyy says:

      Is Vince Carter just a 3pt shooter? Have you watched a dallas game the last 2 years? vince is pretty much doing everything but drive and dunk. he post`s up, runs pick&rolls and shoots of the dribble.

      And for the wade comment, would you walk away from the game when you are still playing like an allstar and are getting allstar money? dont think so.

  10. D-Fence says:

    Ahahah anybody saying Joey Crawford was against the Pacers must have his eyes closed for most part of the game, especially 1st half, but yeah, haters and bandwagoners only see when something is against them, this WASN’T a great officiated game cause even in 1st half you could have seen roy hibbert say “it’s not a foul” when foul was against heat, fouls on hibbert were only his fault, either side gone away with some fouls and had bad calls against them so we can call it even but IT’S NOT GOOD WHEN IT’S EVEN BECAUSE OF SO MUCH BAD CALLS EITHER WAY, LET’S JUST CALL IT RIGHT NBA

  11. Boston Fan says:

    mario chalmers is a dirty player. Lance stephenson is the third player he elbowed this year he should be suspended.

  12. S.T says:

    Considering that Roy Hibbert did not play more than half the game and the fact that Granger soon will be back on the court I say the Pacers got a very good shot at beating the Heat in a seven game series with or without home court.

    • 11 says:

      Keep dreaming looser. Indiana will lose their third straight game on Friday. Indiana will never beat Miami in the playoffs. Just watch

  13. DaBottom says:

    Everyone seems to forget Indiana and Chicago have won the regular season series the last 3 seasons….Soooooo why does everyone think this year is so different than the others?

    • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

      @DaBottom, Lets let these delusional Pacer fans keep dreaming. They don’t know that the Heat can turn it on like a faucet. We are going to cruise to the number 1 seed while the Pacers struggle against good teams. I sense a losing streak for the Pacers

  14. pKone says:

    Full respect to the Pacers!

    Last year I thought the Pacers could beat the Heat on any given day, just not 4 games out of 7. Now I do not know, the Heat will need play hard all 7 games to get to the Finals.

    Kudos to the Pacers and the Heat for being the only “good” story to come out of the East this year!

    Oh, and drop the ref excuses… I am a Spurs fan and no one irks me more than Joey Crawford, but games are lost by players, not refs. If you want to win you get the win, you don’t rely on calls from the ref, one way or the other.

  15. Indian fans are blind says:

    (RR) YOU ARE SUCH A LOOSER!!! HATER!!!! ARE YOU MAD BECAUSE INDIANA LOST???? DMF

  16. heathaterkilla says:

    HERE WE GO WIT THE REF EXCUSE AGAIN, THE MOST COMMON 1 AGAINST THE HEAT. U R RUNNIN OUT OF EXCUSES NOBODY PAID THE REFS BUT YOUR MOM PAID ME CUZ I PIMPED HER OUT ON BROADWAY.

  17. Let's go Heat says:

    Though the Heat won this game, it is more difficult for Heat to beat Pacers in ECF than last season given that kind of Heat defense this night:
    1) Heat “big men” (CB, Battier, Birdman and Lewis) always want to trap and double team Pacers’ ball holders (Paul George, Hill, even David West sometimes) in perimeter area and let Pacers big (Roy and D. West) open in low post area for easy basket. Trap work sometimes but I do see many easy points gained by Pacers big.
    2) The only threat to Heat is not Paul George, but Roy. As in the first regular game, Roy punch the Heat just under the rim but the Heat could not stop him. Heat stand two big in this 2nd game: CB and Birdman to try to response Pacers big. Seems work. Let’s see if Heat play big can response to Roy next game (coz Roy had foul trouble tonight).

    • kriss says:

      Yeah Heat doesnt have a matchup for hibbert, actually very few in the league does because he is so big. It will be interesting to see if that oden project works out for miami. because 7 games against hibbert in the playoffs will be even thougher for miami this year.

      • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

        I think Im going to bet on the team that took the Pacers out the playoffs 2 years straight. You dummies want Miami to lose so bad even when they win you say they cant beat the Pacers LOL. Miami is warming up and they Pacers are fading fast. Miami will beat the Pacers for sure. Pacer fans are needed because Every year I get to laugh at you after my Team pounds your team LOL

  18. Dude101 says:

    I think Joey was wearing a Pacer uniform last night.

  19. Many people forget that Wade was an absolute beast before Lebron joined. When Lebron joined the Heat, Wade was able to take a backseat, more so over the last 2 seasons. Look at his stats in his first 7 seasons versus the last 2 seasons: http://www.hostnumber.com/dwyane-wade-career-stats.html

    • Game Time says:

      No one forgets that. Wade has had some injury filled seasons and even before James came there were talks about his health. The only difference now is he’s older so people figure he can’t bounce back and do what he used to.

    • kekekeke says:

      Wade is still the best shooting guard in the nba in my opinion, Wades numbers have dropped since lebron and bish joined but everyone expected that, wade has become a much better offball player after lebron joined,

      Most people would prolly say harden is the best right now, but harden doesnt play defense and he takes much more shots than wade to.

  20. RR says:

    I want to see some Joey C. highlights.

  21. RR says:

    Wade looked good but the person that really won the game for Miami was none other than Joey Crawford, he must be on
    Miami payroll he won another game for the Miami Heat. Great job Joey!

    • omni says:

      Let the tears flow

    • Floridian says:

      Upsetting all you haters, PRICELESS!

    • U a foo says:

      @rr, you are an ignorant idiot

    • Tony C says:

      These types of comments typically come from Spurs fans because they couldn’t beat the Heat, even though the refs never call fouls on Tim Duncan. He gets away with so much. When Lebron’s headband came off in game 6, it was Tim Duncan who knocked it off, but did Lebron get a foul? NO.

      • AD says:

        how’s that? The Pacers and the Heat had 21 and 20 fouls respectively, yet the Pacers were sent to the line (I think) 8 more times than the Heat. So, what else would you like to whine about? The faulty shot clock at the start of the first?