Jun 22, 2013, 4:59 PM EDT
Dwyane Wade looked like he hopped in the Hot Tub Time Machine before Game 7 and went back a few years. He was the second best player on the court in the game — 23 points and 10 rebounds. He had more bounce in his step, hit 6-of-13 from the midrange and got into the paint enough to keep the Spurs honest.
The reason is he got his knee drained before Game 7 — it was that or ask to play limited minutes, reports the Associated Press.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Wade revealed Saturday that his right knee pained him so much that he contemplated asking to play limited minutes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, and that his left knee was drained and required about eight hours of game-day therapy just so he could play in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
“I went through a lot,” said Wade, who’s now a three-time NBA champion. “But I’m at peace now.”
Now he can rest that knee on a Caribbean beach while celebrating his third title. I’m not a doctor, but I bet your knee feels a lot better in that situation.
Wade said it was Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s words that made him decide to get the knee drained.
“I felt like if I was going to be playing the way I was playing, and hurting the way I was hurting, I wasn’t going to be able to help us move on to the next round,” Wade said. “I was going to say play me short minutes only, and give Mike Miller and guys other opportunities. But I came into the meeting, and all Spo was about was giving me more opportunities and getting me ways to be more successful. So I was like, ‘Well, changed my mind.’”
After Game 7, Spoelstra sang Wade’s praises.
“Really, he should be commended for being out there and doing whatever it takes, putting himself out there for criticism, possible criticism, because he wasn’t 100 percent,” Spoelstra said. “And he just helped us win. That was the bottom line. It was a selfless effort for two months. And some players probably wouldn’t have played.”
He played, and he was a key reason the Heat are back-to-back champions.