Miami will need Dwyane Wade if they want to Beat Indiana
It’s been a while since Heat fans watched Dwyane Wade take over an NBA playoff game in a way only Wade is capable of.
At 31, it looks like father time has finally caught up with Wade, who staggered during Miami’s championship run last spring and wasn’t called upon to carry the Heat in any of their conference finals or Finals games, LeBron took care of all that.
You have to go all the way back to Games 4-6 of Miami’s 2012 second-round series against the Pacers to find a playoff stretch when Wade looked like Wade.
The peak was a 41-point, 10-rebound performance in the series-clinching sixth game at Indiana, the kind of masterful piece of work that only Wade is capable of.
Since then, looks like it’s been downhill for the former NBA Scoring Champion.
Wade, a former Finals MVP, has only one game during the entire 2013 playoffs in which he scored more than 20 points, and that came on a 21-point, seven-rebound performance in game two the opening round of the playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Wade is also averaging a playoff career low in points per game, averaging a mere 13 points per game.
It’s no surprise Wade’s knees have been bothering him. In fact, Wade explained to the media the kind of adjustment he’s doing to his knee in order to make it bearable to play… And to be honest, it sounds more gruesome than encouraging.
In describing one of the treatment he’s undergoing for three bone bruises that surround his kneecap, Wade said trainers try to “move the kneecap so it doesn’t rub,” and then tape it in place. That’s some Terminator stuff, and it doesn’t bode well for a Miami team that will someday soon need Wade to be Wade.
Wade showed us in game five versus the Bulls that he is still capable of taking over a game and putting a team on his back, Wade had a blocked shot, defensive rebound, offensive rebound and putback slam — all in a late 45-second span — to help Miami secure their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight year.
But Miami will need that from their captain on a regular basis as the defending NBA Champions get set to face the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Averaging 12.6 points per game like in the second round versus the Bulls will not cut it versus a team who is hungry and ready for revenge.
Wade will have the assignment to guard Lance Stephenson, yes the same Stephenson who was caught on camera giving James the choke sign during the playoffs.
Wade has the advantage in the experience category; however, Stephenson has two healthy knees.
Stephenson was spectacular in Indiana’s Game 7 win against the New York Knicks, with 25 points on just 13 shots, plus 10 rebounds.
However, even with a banged up knee, Wade edges Stephenson on every statistical category in the 2013 playoffs but one, rebounding.
It is clear Wade is capable of being the player Miami needs, a player who can play without the ball, create (and make) shots, and defend. Wade just needs to be healthy enough where he is not a liability on the floor.
He’s not injured to the point of being out, but he’s not healthy, either. He is the very definition of “banged up.”
Wade is known for listening to critics and coming back even stronger than ever, his whole life he has been about doubt, it’s the driving force behind Dwyane Wade; fall seven times, get up eight.