Wade gives Sixers a headache
Too bad for the Sixers, for anyone who wanted some drama in the series, that Dwyane Wade went from getting headaches to giving them. In a brilliant performance that conjured up images of his 2006 NBA Finals, the freeze-frame moment for Wade and the series came in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Miami up six. LeBron James misses. Ball bounces high off the rim. Wade bounces high off the floor.
With a grab and a powerful dunk, Wade essentially slammed any notion that the Sixers or his own physical hiccups will shut him down anytime soon. If ever, after spending Game 1 dealing with the initial stages of migraine symptoms, then Game 2 rusty from missing practice, Wade stepped out of his fog and Miami can now visualize the East semi-finals in the distance.
There wasn’t a spot on the Wells Fargo Center court that he didn’t cover in the 100-94 win. He scored 32 points, after scoring a combined 31 the first two games, some from mid-range, but also by challenging the Sixers inside and putting his body at risk. Six of his 10 rebounds were offensive as the Heat loaded up on second helpings. And he came two assists shy of a triple-double.
If there was any doubt, witness what happened when Wade fell hard to the floor in the first half, right on his shoulder. He grimaced, rose slowly and kept holding his arm. Strangely, the Heat never signaled for the trainer. It was almost as if they knew Wade was OK. And he didn’t ask for the trainer, either.
Actually, Wade seemed determined to make the night his night, as if he had to make up for the previous two games. He played the decoy in those games, passing the ball, making sure to get Bosh involved, feeding LeBron on the break. But also because he had little choice but play a supporting role. The energy and the timing just weren’t there.
Whenever Wade plays, you’re not sure whether to exhale, not only because he can steal your breath with his speed downcourt and ability to improvise, but because he always seems to be an injury risk. The crash-landing on his shoulder only enhanced that reputation. But as usual, Wade simply brushed it aside.
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