Posted on: April 12, 2009 10:07 pm

Wade gets 55

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade is not going to win the MVP award. That much is clear, thanks to LeBron James.

But Wade made another case to steal some votes Sunday with his performance against the Knicks in 122-105 victory. Wade had a career-high 55 points, which finished one shy of the franchise record, and caused some playful controversy between coach Erik Spoelstra and his All-Star guard.

Wade had 50 points at the end of the third quarter and scored for the final time with 5:31 remaining in the game. He only needed one more point to match Glen Rice's record of 56 set April 15, 1995 against Orlando, but Wade started passing to open teammates at the end of the game.

Instead of going for the record, Wade left to a standing ovation with 1:06 remaining in the game since the score was out of reach. Spoelstra said he had no idea Wade was close to the record until an assistant coach told him after Wade was on the bench.

Spoelstra's excuse was he didn't want to risk Wade getting hurt with the playoffs less than a week away. The Heat clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with Philadelphia losing at Toronto on Sunday and will face No. 4 seed Atlanta in the first round.

Wade has been dealing with an injured ankle, and Spoelstra wants to make sure his best player is 100 percent when it matters most. Still, the rookie coach was aware what he had done.

"I told Dwyane he better not 'MF' me," Spoelstra said. "This is about the bigger picture right now.

"He's broken every other record for the franchise. Let's leave one for Glen Rice."

Wade, even though he likely wanted the record and will have plenty of chances to get the mark in the future, agreed with his coach. He said he "didn't care for" the record because he was focused on clinching the No. 5 seed with two games to play.

Wade did say he could tell a big game was coming. He felt good shooting the ball before the game and hit 23 three-pointers warming up.

Then he took it out on one of his Olympic coaches in Mike D'Antoni, who was an assistant with Team USA during the summer. Wade hit a career-high six three-pointers and also added nine rebounds and four assists. He was 19-of-30 from the field and 11-of-13 from the foul line.

D'Antoni and Wade shared a moment near the end of the game after Wade had scored all of his 55 points.

"I said this is nothing personal," Wade said.

"It was me just complimenting him," D'Antoni said. "I told him, 'It's sort of ridiculous that you're this good.'"

At one point after the exchange, D'Antoni said something to Wade that made him laugh. After the game, Wade wouldn't divulge the final words.

"It was something about LeBron," Wade said. "He told me not to say."

Maybe it was that Wade was the best player in Beijing, which is what D'Antoni said prior to the game. Maybe it was that Wade -- and not James -- would look better in a Knicks uniform after the 2010 season when both are going to be free agents and sought after by New York.

Or maybe it was that D'Antoni thinks Wade should win the MVP over James. Wade did have the higher point total against the Knicks this year, with James going for 52 in February. (Kobe Bryant has the NBA season high with 61, also against the Knicks).

"It was unbelievable," D'Antoni said of Wade. "He was hitting shots that once he starts, you can't stop him. He did a great job."

Wade wasn't the only Heat player with a career performance. Rookie forward Michael Beasley tied his career high with 28 points and set a new career high with 16 rebounds.

Beasley is starting with Udonis Haslem (hand) out and finally playing with confidence. It's coming at the right time for the Heat with the playoffs starting.

"I was just out there playing," Beasley said. "Coach is playing me more minutes. He is trusting me a little bit. The team is putting their trust in me a little bit. I'm just playing my game and trying to do what the team needs. It's easier to play when you have confidence and you know the team is trusting you and the coach is trusting you."

Even with Beasley's performance, the story Sunday was Wade. He's been the story all year for the Heat.

This was his third 50-point game this season, and he continues to show how good he is when he's healthy. Rookie guard Mario Chalmers said Wade "makes you say wow a lot."

Now, a year after missing the postseason, we get to see what Wade can do in the playoffs again. He's not going to win the MVP award, but he's definitely had a magical regular season.

He likely added one final memory -- and one last push for some MVP votes -- with his game against the Knicks. If only he got two more points, he would have added another record.

Posted on: February 22, 2008 11:42 am

NBA trade deadline

The NBA trade deadline has finally passed, and unfortunately it might be the most exciting part of the season. I know, the playoffs, especially in the Western Conference, will be exciting, but did you ever notice people spend more time talking about the NBA than actually watching it?

Let's just hope there's as much enthusiasm following the moves made as there was keeping an eye on what happened. So let's take a look at the five winners and losers in the trade market.


Lakers: Getting Pau Gasol makes them the favorite in the Western Conference since they got him for spare parts. It also ensures even if they fail to win a title that Kobe Bryant will be excited about returning to Los Angeles next season.

Suns: Phoenix wasn't going to win a championship with Shawn Marion and their old style. They needed to get better in the half court, and Shaquille O'Neal will help that. Don't worry about the Suns slowing down. Remember the Showtime Lakers in the 80s? Their center was 40-year-old Kareer Abdul-Jabbar. Did he stop Magic Johnson from getting up and down the court? I don't think so.

Jazz: Maybe the most underrated trade was Utah getting Kyle Korver from Philadelphia. Korver provides another shooter to go with Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko. That's as good a closing lineup as any team in the Western Conference, and they have a great coach in Jerry Sloan.

Spurs: Subtlety is a lost quality, and the Spurs made a nice move in getting Kurt Thomas from Seattle. He's a solid defender to put on Shaq, and he also can be useful in guarding Gasol. And if the Spurs make it out of the Western Conference, he could guard Kevin Garnett or Rasheed Wallace and keep Tim Duncan from getting in foul trouble.

Mavericks: When you add Jason Kidd to a mix of Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Jason Terry, only good things will come of it. There will be an adjustment period because Dallas isn't used to a pass-happy offense, but Kidd will help the Mavericks get plenty of easy baskets and keep them in contention with the other top teams out West.


Nuggets: The only team in the Western Conference with two All-Star starters could be in trouble. At best, they will be the No. 7 seed in the playoffs, which means they will have to win on the road. I like the Nuggets roster, and they essentially added a player with the return of Kenyon Martin coming back from his knee injury. But Denver could miss the playoffs, which would be a travesty with a team featuring Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby.

Knicks: No team wants to take on the headaches of Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry. That means the Knicks are stuck with them, and the rebuiding process will continue for several more years in what should be the basketball mecca of New York.

Celtics: Boston has enough to win the Eastern Conference, even with Detroit and Cleveland making moves for the playoffs. But can the Celtics overcome a lack of depth to win the championship? I don't know if they can. Adding another point guard and/or another big man would have helped.

Bulls: Chicago takes on the contract of Larry Hughes, who along with the emergence of Thabo Sefolosha could mean Ben Gordon is gone soon. For as much as Ben Wallace was a terrible fit with the Bulls, I'd rather pay a big man who rebounds and defends then a guard like Hughes who is injury prone and a bad fit with this roster.

Hornets: When the trade deadline passed, New Orleans was the best team in the Western Conference. They added Bonzi Wells, but they could have made a move to get Wally Szczerbiak, Kurt Thomas or some other form of offense or size to make themselves a more formidable playoff contender. Let's just hope the Hornets have enough in place with Chris Paul, David West, Peja Stojakovic and Tyson Chandler to get through the Western Conference and make a run for a championship. Otherwise it was a nice regular season but it was all for nothing.

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