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Dwyane Wade comes through for Heat in Game 7

Jun 4, 2013, 1:19 AM EDT

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade rouses the crowd before Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference semi-final basketball playoff against the Chicago Bulls in Miami Reuters

After the Heat lost Game 6 to the Pacers in Indiana, Dwyane Wade came out and said that both he and Chris Bosh would need more touches offensively if the team was going to be successful.

That was Miami’s formula for the majority  of the season, of course, but the two members of the Heat’s Big Three not named LeBron James hadn’t really earned it through six games of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Wade has been bothered by a lingering knee injury that’s been clearly limiting, and he hasn’t looked to be anywhere near himself physically. He’s been slow to react, while playing without the speed and lift we’re used to seeing. Yet his team heeded his advice in Game 7, and Wade delivered in a big way with 21 points and nine rebounds to help his team get back to the Finals.

Obviously, Wade felt better physically in order to turn in this type of performance. There was a play during the first quarter, when he grabbed a steal and went the length of the floor before dropping a Euro-step move on Lance Stephenson and finishing with the slam that he wouldn’t have been able to make earlier in the series.

But besides the amount of athleticism Wade was able to summon in this one, an adjustment the team made defensively seemed to be just as important in Wade’s offensive success.

LeBron James took the assignment of guarding Paul George, which was Wade’s through the first six games of the series. Not only did James shut down the Pacers’ All-Star, but it freed up Wade and allowed him to use his energy on the offensive end of the floor instead.

“Well, I mean, any little pressure I could take off D‑Wade I wanted to do that, especially in tonight’s game,” James said. “I told him we kind of talked about it this morning, about the match‑ups coming out. I told him I would take Paul George. I want to allow him to focus on his offense, not have to worry about stopping Paul George every possession and allow him to get out in transition, allow him to get out in transition, allow him to make a couple of cuts and get to the line. I think that was huge for him.”

It certainly seemed to be. But it also didn’t hurt that the Heat were looking to get Wade involved in the offense from the very start, just as he had requested.

“The first play of the game I called a play for D‑Wade,” James said. “Even though he didn’t shoot the ball, he got a good touch in the paint. Just to make him feel like he was a part of the offense, make him feel in a good rhythm. I called a couple of sets for him early in the game, just to get a feel for it. And it showed throughout the whole game that he was in the rhythm. He started to make lay‑ups, he started to attack, he started to make his free throws. So it was big time.”

The change in defensive assignments and looking to Wade to produce early were important in his getting involved and being able to contribute from the jump. But as for him stepping up and somehow being able to get right physically when he’s struggled to do so the entire series, that’s something uniquely special to Wade as an individual, according to Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

“Dwyane just ‑‑ you know, he just found a way to dig deep,” Spoelstra said. “We all know what he’s dealing with right now. He knew this was a moment that we had to have, and somehow he was able just to will that game, despite what he’s going through.”

Wade talked about his struggles battling injury afterward, and said he’ll continue to do whatever it takes in order to be on the floor to help his team win another title.

“I’m going to play through pain because this is my job,” Wade said. “My team depends on me. Like I said a couple of series ago, I would love to be one of the players who never has to deal with these conversations, never have to deal with these injuries. But that’s not my path. I’ve been through so much away from the game and in the game that I’ll find a way. I’ll figure it out. Some way, somehow, you give me enough time, I’ll figure it out. That’s what I was able to do tonight.

“There will be some moments next series where I won’t be looking so great,” he added. “I’m sure there will be some great headlines out there about myself. I’ll continue pushing. I’ll continue to try to do what I can to help the Miami Heat win another championship.”

 

  1. raven0024 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:38 AM

    Lets Go Heat!!

  2. lemfaxx - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:23 AM

    Spurs vs heat finally my dream final match-up since 2011 come true!!!

  3. ace3hundred - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    I wonder what type of shot wade took before the game.

  4. canehouse - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Wade County

  5. cantonbound13 - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    He shot under 50% & only scored 21. Just the second time in the playoffs he scored over 20. $100 million for that? On the positive, his flopping was in post season form.

    • hehateme2 - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:48 AM

      true to form moron. your tears taste great!

    • leahcima1 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:55 AM

      Cantonjerk13 you make my day. Wade stuck it in your face, again. How does his s–t taste loser. LOL

  6. jbeagles23 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Cantonbound didn’t you praise Carmelo all year. Even when he’d get 15 points on 30 shots?

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      unlike your diva “star” he played the entire month of April & post season with a torn labrum & never said a word about it, or requested a wheelchair. I have nothing but respect for Melo.

      • hehateme2 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:18 AM

        Melo is a loser punk like you. That’s why you relate so well.

  7. jjones314 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Did the Heat win the series or not?

    I don’t care about stupid stats. Did you win or did you lose.

    D. Wade and the Miami Heat won the series.

  8. jjones314 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    How many rings does Wade have? Has Wade won a Finals MVP before? Has Melo even made it near the Finals?

    How long has Melo been in the league? How many times has Melo been bounced out of the first round of the playoffs?

    Haha

    • leahcima1 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:57 AM

      Melo couldn’t carry Dwayne’s jock. He’s a me first loser just like his water boy cantonjerk13.

      • bougin89 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        I get standing up for a player you like but you didn’t even spell his first name correctly.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:35 AM

        Gotta lay off Melo. Melo and LeBron graduated HS the same year, and of the two of them it was Melo won the NCAA championship Freshman year. LeBron’s Buckeyes lost in the first round of the NCAAs that year.

      • cwilson6843 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        Noooo, melo was a freshman in college when LeBron was a senior in highschool….remember LeBron couldn’t go to college he entered the draft out of highschool….

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      First of all Melo played out West, had nobody on his teams. Out West you had to beat the Lakers, Mavs & Spurs. The Same Spurs team that swept LeBron in Cleveland. The same Mavs teams that beat the Heat. Wade never would have sniffed the Finals out West. Melo never got to play with Shaq or Tim Donoghey. Yet another ignorant comment by a bandwagoner that just started watching the NBA.

      • hehateme2 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        All you got is the “bandwagon” nonsense oh little one. You see “ignorance” every time you look at yourself. How about the fact that the HEAT have made it to the Finals for 3 years straight…. not one, not two, not three, etc.

        The nicks were lucky to make it once over the past decade.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        Typical loser mentality, you see going to the finals as an accomplishment. Winning it all is all that matters. When the Heat lose this year they will have only won one & that being in a lockout shortened season.
        I guess your hooked on fonix dvd didn’t teach you it’s Knicks not nicks.

      • cwilson6843 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        Ummm LeBron had nobody on his team when the spurs swept him out the finals what’s your point? LeBron has gotten a complete crappy team to the finals. Now LeBron has a team and made it to the finals 3 Times in a row. Melo has a team now and still can’t get pass the 2nd round

  9. canehouse - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    has Melo sniffed either conference finals… NOPE! Could be wrong… but is this his first season that he extended his playoff run past the first round? He is the modern day George Girvin.

    • adfranco - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      I’m no Melo fan, but the Denver Nuggets made it to the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers in 2009. And yes, the West is a much tougher conference. I think you are going Melo mixed up with T McGrady.

      • adfranco - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        *getting

      • cwilson6843 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        Yea the nuggets were finally able to make it to the conference finals cuz melo left to go to Knicks and the nuggets were finally able to play team ball

  10. jzone954 - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    ARE WE REALLY STILL TALKING ABOUT MELO AND THE KNICKS!?!?!?!?

    • cwilson6843 - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:52 PM

      Lol yes and I have no idea why

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