|Whew! A week to remember for Dwyane Wade|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 01 March 2009 10:18|
With good reason, too. To recap the wild Wade week that was:
-He set career-highs of 50 points in one game, 16 assists in another.
-His decorative yet protective cheek bandage - the Band-Wade - was ripped away by the NBA.
-He scored or assisted on 59 percent of Miami's baskets in four games, while averaging 37 points.
And ever the showman, Wade finished the week with jaw-dropping flair.
Furious after New York's Danilo Gallinari bloodied his lip with an elbow, Wade hit back by erasing a 15-point Miami deficit in the final nine minutes Saturday night. He scored 46 points, 24 in the fourth quarter, and the Heat prevailed 120-115 for their most dramatic win since the 2006 NBA finals.
``D-Wade, flashback to 2006, right there,'' Heat forward Dorell Wright said. ``No doubt.''
Alas, the NBA schedule never allows much time to savor such accomplishments. For as good as Wade was, he might have to be even better this week, as foes who only need one name are looming.
's LeBron on Monday and Shaq on Wednesday. On the road, there's Chris Bosh on Friday and LeBron again Saturday.
Indeed, Wade's best week immediately preceded Miami's most daunting week.
``We've got to continue to move forward,'' Wade said. ``We've got one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference coming in in Cleveland. It's at home and we've got to fight again. It's playoff time. Then Shaq's coming in and we've got to protect home court. We enjoy it and we look forward to those games.''
The memory of what he did against the Knicks, though, might last for quite a while.
Wade's fourth quarter was simply something to behold. A three-point play to start the huge comeback. Jumpers from 3-point range. Blocked shots. Steals. Saving balls from going out of bounds. Drives for two-handed dunks. Fist pumps. Telling the arena and anyone within earshot that ``this is my house.'' And doing it all with what's known in Heatland as The Look - a glare that says he won't be beaten.
``I mean, that guy is incredible,'' marveled Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, who was on the coaching staff at the Beijing Olympics and saw Wade up-close for weeks.
Along with the points, Wade finished with 10 assists, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
ght rebounds in a game. None of those had as many steals and blocks that Wade added Saturday.
``MVP,'' Heat rookie Michael Beasley said. ``That's all I can say.''
He wasn't talking in terms of Gallinari's elbow providing the Most Valuable Pop, either.
When Wade got bloodied, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra drew a technical for arguing why no foul was called.
In the time-out that followed, Spoelstra - whose offensive playbook is about as complex as the federal tax code - made the easiest call of his rookie coaching season.
``I said, 'Get ... out of Dwyane's way,''' Spoelstra said.
The Heat listened. Wade alone outscored the Knicks by seven points in the fourth quarter.
``After the Gallinari hit a switch came on, and we all turned a switch on,'' Wade said. ``So we thank him.''
It was a critical win for the Heat, who've alternated wins and losses in their last 10 games, yet still hold the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase largely thanks to Wade.
He scored a career-best 50 in a loss to Orlando last Sunday and followed that with a 31-point, 16-assist effort two nights later against Detroit. Then came the Band-Aid issue, with the NBA saying Friday that the bandage he'd sported on his cheek since getting struck by Charlotte's Juwan Howard on Feb. 8 was too decorative.
So he played without one Friday and Saturday, and will continue to do so.
on the lip anyway,'' Wade said.
Next, James comes in with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are playing as well as anyone in the NBA. Shaquille O'Neal makes his first trip to Miami since last year's trade with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, and O'Neal's 45-point outburst Friday night shows he's got plenty left in his tank.
But if Miami brings that same energy into this week as it had in the final nine minutes of this past week, newly acquired forward Jamario Moon said, the Heat will be just fine.
``Everybody's human. You've just got to go out and do your job, man, try to keep your man in front of you the best way you can,'' Moon said. ``They're great players. They make it tough for you. But at the same time, you have to go out and do what you're supposed to do.''
Which is exactly what Wade has done all season, especially in the last week.
He's back on top of the NBA scoring-title chase, still has the Heat in contention for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and knows he's got to find a way to keep this epic stretch going.
``We could have given up,'' Wade said. ``But this shows the toughness we have as a team.''