Pacers-Heat Game 6: Where Dwyane Wade put in the virtuoso
Dwyane Wade puts in a virtuoso performance in Game 6 to clinch the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the heat over the Pacers.
You can put Game 6 against the Pacers in the lineup for best games of Dwyane Wade's career. Less than a week after facing questions from everyone and looking like a shell of himself, Wade responded with three consecutive dominant performances, showcasing everything that has made him one of the best players in the NBA over the past eight years.
41 points and 10 rebounds on 17-25 shooting Thursday night for Wade, capping off a week that saw him rise from the depths like a phoenix and turn the Pacers to ash. Put simply, there was nothing they could do stop him. George Hill, Paul George, Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones, Paul George, everyone got torched. Everyone gave up fouls, everyone paid the price.
Here's a fun one. In the final three games of the Pacers' series, Wade averaged 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, on 62 percent shooting. He shot 40 of 65 in that span. Here, let me make that a little more visceral to you.
Not bad for a week's work.
It was a reminder that Wade can take over games. It was what was asked of him, particularly in a Game 6 without Chris Bosh, on the road, without his teammates hitting threes, and with LeBron James having an average game for him. That's right. 28-7-6 is now considered "average" for the MVP. James didn't even look plugged in Thursday night and still dropped a ridiculous amount of production.
But it was the two of them that capped off this Heat comeback in the series and sent them to the Eastern Conference Finals for a second straight year. James took over Games 4 and 5 to dig them out of the hole.
Wade finished the job as Miami's chosen hero. The floater was his friend, and he used the glass all night. Wade eliminated the Pacers' size advantage by lofting the ball over Roy Hibbert time and time again. He drew fouls over and over. He had three and-ones in Game 6 alone.
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James is considered the best player alive. But while everyone mocked them and fretted over the fact that the Heat aren't a complete team, Wade and James showed up in the most dire moment to show why they are two of the best to ever play the game.
The Heat go on, and if there were questions about whether Dwyane Wade could ever be the force he once was in his younger days, they have been silenced, permanently.
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Not many games, but still plenty of action and intrigue Sunday in the Association