Dwyane Wade had some voodoo haunting him vs. Boston this season. He broke through that Sunday and helped the Heat finally topple the mighty Celtics.
Posted by Matt Moore
The problems hadn't been isolated to any one area. It wasn't just shooting, or handle, aggression or defense. It had been systemic and hit had been downright spooky. Shots would rattle 9/10ths of the way down, then pop out. His usual control on drives would be undermined by him dribbling the ball of his foot. Instead of snaking smooth kick-outs to shooters, he'd jump-pass wildly into the hands of the opponent. Instead of sprinting to run off a shooter, he'd watch as he calmly knocked down a three.
Dwyane Wade was snakebit against the Celtics.
In the first three games against Boston, Wade averaged 12 points per game on a combined 12 of 45 shooting. He shot 27 percent from the field across the three games, and 20 percent from the arc. He only grabbed 3.3 rebounds per contest, and dished just 4.3 assists while turning the ball over 6 times per game. A lot of it was the Celtics' notorious defense doing their thing. But part of the function was worse, it seemed that the Celtics were inside Wade's brainstem, filling him with frustration and self-doubt.
On Sunday, Wade turned all that around in a 100-77 win over the Celtics.
While LeBron James was the MVP of the day with 27 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, Wade was a huge difference maker. Wade only scored 14, but had 5 rebounds and 8 assists, while cutting the turnover rate in half with only 3. He made what may have been the play of the game with a huge block in transition on Ray Allen. It epitomized the kind of effort the Heat finally gave against the Celtics which they had needed in all three of the previous contests. Wade closed hard on the perimeter kick-outs to Allen, bothering him just enough into a 4 of 9 shooting night.
Wade is more than just his usual part of the Big 3 against Boston. He has the ability to create off the dribble, which is essential to disrupting Boston's spacing.
He finished just 4 of 12 from the field, but was 6-6 from the line, and more importantly, was aggressive. That's the story against Boston, and it has to be should the Heat find themselves against the men in green in the second round. There cannot be hesitation or caution. There must be reckless abandon, and Wade worked in tandem with the Heat to create that attitude on Sunday. It was contagious, as Chris Bosh had one of his strongest games as a member of the Heat, finishing tough after fouls and making a huge block to cue another fast break opportunity for Miami. Wade and James failed to connect several times on alley-oops, but the message was clear. The Heat were not going to stop in this one, were going to continuously attack the Celtics, and with the new construction of the Celtics trying to figure itself out, and after a long regular season that has left the Celtics weary, they had no answer.
Wade didn't dominate on Sunday, nor did he explode. He simply played effectively, got his teammates involved, and set the tone.
Oh, yeah, and he finally got the win.