Even the great ones need a little pick-me-up every now and then. Dwyane Wade was at an all-time low point after his pitiful five-point performance in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers.
So Wade went back to his roots. He met with his former college coach at Marquette who is now the head man at the University of Indiana, Tom Crean. When Wade visited with his mentor, the coach had some game film for him to look at and dissect to fix whatever is ailing his game.
”I was able to be a student of the game,” Wade said. ”Just figuring out what I needed to do differently to help our team get this win. I just wanted to come out today and affect the game somehow. Obviously, I knew I was struggling a little bit on my offensive game. I wasn’t going to let that affect my overall game.”
Whatever he saw on film worked like a charm, as the old Dwyane Wade showed up in Game 4. He got a dunk early in the first quarter to get his confidence up, and from there he lit up the Pacers for 30 points on 13-of-23 shooting in nearly 41 minutes. He also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists.
Wade’s performance, combined with LeBron James’ 40-point, 18-rebound effort, powered the Heat to a 101-93 victory and tie the series at 2-2. The series shifts back to Miami where the Heat are at their best. It was also Miami’s first playoff win without forward Chris Bosh, who is out indefinitely with an abdominal strain.
”Me and ‘Bron had it going,” said Wade, who bounced back from the worst playoff game of his career – five points on 2-of-13 shooting – with one of his best. He also caught a lot of heat for his blowup on the sideline with head coach Erik Spoelstra, but both men downplayed the situation and said it was a minor glitch in the grand scheme of things.
“That happens. Anybody that’s been part of a team or have been a coach, been a player you have no idea how often things like that happen,” Spoelstra said after Game 3. “That was during the emotional part of the game. We were getting our butt kicked. Those exchanges happen all the time during the course of an NBA season. Dwyane and I have been together for a long time. We’ve been through basically everything. A lot of different roles, a lot of different teams. That was nothing. That’s the least of our concern. That type of fire, shoot, that’s good.”
For the Heat to advance to the next round, Wade and James need to be at their absolute best. Anything less could mean the end of the season and a long, long summer. ”We played off of each other very well,” Wade said. “We both were aggressive at the same time. That’s beautiful basketball for the Miami Heat when we play that way.”