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Hoop it up all week with SI.com's writers in the NBA Playoffs Blog, a daily journal of NBA commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
12:20 AM ET, 5/11/06

Wade leaving his mark on playoffs

Posted by Andrew Lawrence
Dwyane Wade
The Nets had a nice view as Dwyane Wade soars for two of his game-high 31 points.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Clearly Miami was more than just a little upset at how things played out against New Jersey two nights ago. You could tell just how upset by the way the Heat opened Game 2, exhibiting the same intensity and sense of purpose that had defined the Nets in Game 1. After being blown out Monday, the Heat returned the favor on Wednesday, torching the Nets 111-89 to even the series at 1-1.

And just like Monday night, this one was won in the first quarter -- only this time it was New Jersey that faltered from the tip, committing turnover after turnover while the Heat scored 16 unanswered points. By the time the Nets were able to settle into some semblance of a halfcourt offense, the deficit was 26-6 and Nenad Krstic was heading to the bench with two fouls. Miami's 41 first-quarter points set a franchise playoff record.

But it was Krstic's cold start that sealed the Nets' fate. In the past half season, the 22-year-old center has proved himself a vital cog in New Jersey's offense. When he struggles, so too does the team.

After averaging 17 points in the first seven playoff games, Krstic finally came crashing down to earth. He started Wednesday's first quarter 1-for-3 from the field, hoisting all those attempts from at least 20 feet. He missed two attempts in the second and two more in the third and wound up finishing with 14 points on 4-for-10 shooting. Get him going early in Game 3, and he'll end up with twice that.

Overall, the Nets shot 40 percent for the game -- and that's counting the contributions of a hobbled Richard Jefferson, who pitched in 16 points on 8-of-16 from the field despite a bruised bone in his right ankle.

Miami, by contrast, could do no wrong, making 52.7 percent of its shots while going 11-of-20 from 3-point range. The air strike was keyed by none other than Dwyane Wade, who is usually a short- to intermediate-range shooter like Rip Hamilton. But unlike Hamilton, who essentially started heaving 3s out of peer pressure ('Sheed's doin' it ...), Wade's newfound range was born out of necessity -- specifically, a bruised hip sustained a series earlier against Chicago that would limit his mobility.

In Game 2 against the Nets, Wade went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc (all in the first quarter) before returning to his efficient, paint-punishing self, slashing and spinning his way to a game-high 31 points for the night -- including 21 in the first half.

Years from now, we'll look back on the game's transcendent performers and remember this as the postseason of Wade's ascent. In Game 5 of the Chicago series, he tumbled to the floor and bruised his hip, only to return and score 15 of his 28 points after enduring a "shot in butt." Three games later that same hip injury turned Wade from a (potentially) sluggish slasher to a dead-eye marksman.

It's funny: While LeBron James and Kobe Bryant haggle over claims to Michael Jordan's NBA legacy, Wade has quietly carved out his own fiefdom -- and on his own terms. Which begs the question: Why isn't a bigger deal being made of this?

Comments:

Posted: 1:03 AM   by Anonymous
I had a very interesting conversation with a family friend the other night; this was right before Game 1 of the Nets versus Heat series. He emphatically stated that, "Nenad Krstic is a beast." In other words, Krstic was going to average 20 or 25 points throughout the series, which would propel the Nets into the Eastern Conference Finals for the 3rd time in 6 years. He even went as far as to say that Krstic would be the "X-Factor?" So far, the "Beast" slash "X-Factor" has been nothing but an "X," which defined by me, means absolutely nothing and nonexistent. Sure, he's put up at least 13 points (nothing like he did against the Pacers) the first two games, but has averaged 4 fouls as well. It's obvious he can't stay on the court long enough to be a "Beast" but more like a magnet that attracts fouls every chance he gets. The Pacers didn't have an inside presence like the Heat, so why should I or anyone else for that matter believe that Nenad Krstic is going to be the one who puts the Nets over the top? The Nets will only go as far as Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Richard Jefferson take them--with or without the "Beast" or "X-Factor."
Posted: 1:04 AM   by Anonymous
Which begs the question: Why isn't a bigger deal being made of this?

Huh? Same could be said about Brand, Nowitzki, Stoudemire, etc.

James and Bryant are the most skilled players in the league and deserve the hype.
Posted: 1:31 AM   by Anonymous
What they should make a bigger deal about is how the most selfish player in the league (Bryant) imploded during the 7th game against the Suns. Wade and James are just amazing players that are also team players. Kobe "Ball Hog" Bryant is not.
Posted: 1:46 AM   by Anonymous
Wade is an all-star. He is easily 1 of the top 5 most exciting player in the league. With all that said, LeBron James & Kobe Bryant are future hall of famers. 3 advantages they have over Wade are 1)They're a lot bigger in size and height. 2)LeBron and Kobe are less injury prone, it caould be becasue physically they play with more control or perhaps because of their size, and 3)Those 2 are better shooters specialy from behind the arc, nevertheless, he did have a good game 3 from behind the arc. But he should not be discredited because he is still Top 10-15 in the L atleast in my mind.
No question about Wade and him making his mark and all. But his sudden three point range accuracy won't last. He probably won't shoot like that again unless they get pummelled by 30 and their backs are on the wall much like today. This game was a must win for the Heat and they responded well. as for the Nets, id say it was complacency, they've just stolen homecourt and were probably on the mindset that they can beat Shaq and crew easily. well, they were wrong. They should have expected a burst like that. but that's done. move to game three. series tied. The only good sign for the Heat that i saw tonight, Shaq showcased post moves that didn't involve running his man over. If he does this throughout the series and Nets don't adjust, homecourt advantage will soon return to Miami.
Posted: 1:58 AM   by Anonymous
"James and Bryant are the most skilled players in the league and deserve the hype."

James and Bryant are the only superstars on their team unlike Wade... He has O'neal..
Posted: 2:13 AM   by Anonymous
Since Dwayne Wade didnt enter the league with as much hype as Bron or Mello, not as many people are holding him up to any standards. Therefore Wade will go as far as his team goes. He's gonna be looked at as another Dan Marino if the Heat dont ever go all the way with him in the driver's seat,and people already compare him to MJ but he's no MJ (cuz Wade has bad games). One of Jordan's bad games was scoring 24 points while Wade has had his share of cold games. Wade is his own player and he is a superstar and will probably make it to the HOF after he retires..Im hoping he'll retire in a Heat uniform.
Posted: 2:42 AM   by Anonymous
Enough with the Kobe-crap.. give it a rest for the meantime.. Kobe's right where he belongs right now.. on vacation after abandoning "his" team..

I'm glad Shaq got his head straight and used his finesse game again. For an extremely experienced player, it sure took him a long time to realize that his power game was what was getting him in foul trouble. C'mon Shaq you should know better by now. You have to take and adjust to what the defense and the officials give you, if you're really a smart player. It will be easy to go back to your power game once the opponents realize that they can't just wait for you to charge at them. Let the game come to you.

As for Wade, no doubt he is the main man and the future of the Miami Heat franchise. He sure is an exciting player to watch. I just hope he does not get hurt due to his kind of play, or else it will be another disappointing end of the season for the Heat.
Posted: 3:02 AM   by Anonymous
Wade might play with Shaq, but this is not the same dominant Shaq-daddy of old. Shaq is clearly the number two guy to Wade on this time, kind of like Robinson was for Duncan early in T-Dunc's career.
Posted: 3:08 AM   by Anonymous
Wade had 70-something consecutive games scoring more than 10 points. He RARELY has a bad game, and has many more GREAT games. He does not put up 40 a night like Kobe, but he carries his team, even with Shaq on the floor. Ask any Miami Heat fan, they would not trade Wade based on his leadership and poise alone.
Posted: 6:59 AM   by Phillip
Couldn't see the game being in Germany *sniff*, yet when looking at the Box score I see:
Alonzo Mourning:
"10 Minutes
6 Freethrows
5 Personal Fouls!

Um ... has anybody been playing basketball when Zo was on the court? Or did everybody suddenly start tho wrestle on court?

Greetings
Phillip
Posted: 7:28 AM   by Anonymous
Wade is as polished and skilled as either Bryant or James. Unlike the other two, Wade has to defer to another superstar on his team, which equals fewer shots and being looked at as the 2nd scoring option in the half-court. Unlike the one post who suggests that Wade is within the top 10-15 in the league--wake up and recognize! Wade is easily in the top 3, and not necessarily in 3rd place either. He is a transcendent player who is a unique blend of finesse and power, plays defense, and is interested mostly in winning. Wayne Smith
Posted: 8:32 AM   by Anonymous
I am mystified why Wade was not a serious MVP candidate. It takes the playoffs for this guy to get noticed? In my way of thinking, the competition should have been between Wade and LeBron. I have never understood the hype surrounding Steve Nash. Be that as it may, next year should be the year of Wade and Lebron. Count Kobe out; he's too self centered to be taken seriously as an MVP candidate.
Posted: 10:42 AM   by Anonymous
Let Wade be. He doesn't like nor need the hype. He just wins games for the Heat. He's a breath of fresh air in this league of egos. Take into consideration that Wade shoots right around 20 shots a game. Last night he could've had 50 pts. if his name were Kobe.
Posted: 11:11 AM   by sbgk1
Dwayne Wade is not Kobe. Remember that Gatorade commercial "Be Like Mike" Well, at one time, news reporters from around the world were saying, Jordan wanted to "Be Like Kobe." Dwayne Wade has not reached this status. He's not a complete player. He's a great offensive player, but to be a great overall player, you need to play defense. Kobe has made first team all defense. I get tired of seeing all these comments about how Dwayne Wade and Lebron James are better players than Kobe. Gimme a break. Shaq would not have won all those titles without Kobe. Right now, there's no doubt...Kobe is the best player in the NBA bar none.
Posted: 11:56 AM   by Anonymous
Dwayne Wade was 2nd team all defense last year, AHEAD of Kobe. Lebron, yes, he has difficulty on defense. Wade, however, is a very good defender. I would usually say Kobe's slightly better, but you're way off base if you're saying his game is incomplete because of a lack of defense.
Posted: 12:15 PM   by Anonymous
"James and Bryant are the only superstars on their team unlike Wade"

Yea it's to bad Bryant has never had the opportunity to play with one of the top 50 players of all-time then we would really see what this guy could do...what? He did?! And you say he ran the guy off so it could be "his" 40 win team that barely squeaks into the playoffs? Opps. My bad.
Posted: 1:06 PM   by Anonymous
Forget the Dwyane Wade. No one carries the basketball more than this guy, not allen iverson, not skip to my lou. He uses his quickness with his carrying to penatrate the lane. It is smart but you can't guard the carry crossover. He does get caught once in a while. DOn't worry Wade will get ripped apart in for the rest of the series as Carter will prove that he is still better than Wade.
Posted: 1:29 PM   by Anonymous
Wade is a very good player. If everyone wasn't all hyped up for Lebron and Koby people will see other superstars aslwell. It is because the focus is always on specific people that people get left out but then again he wants it this way. What makes Wade so good that is for his position he is stronger than most and can score at will the disadvantage is that he has to defend quicker guards than him which anyone will have problems with just look at Koby versus Iverson. and for Wade against bigger guys he is flash.Plus Diesel is getting old and can't really rely on him too much so for wade to be scorer and defender take a lot away from his energy so peeps look at faqs
Posted: 2:05 PM   by Anonymous
Michael Jordan's legacy is that of a skilled player who elevated his team's level of play. Yes, Kobe and LeBron are skilled players, but basketball is a team sport. I interpret the question as asking why is there such an emphasis on the fundamental skill of MJ and who possess it and not of the other great things he brought to Chicago as a TEAM to rise to the occasion. Yes, LeBron and Kobe have ‘mad’ skill, but what is MJ's legacy's greatest value. Is it the fundamental skill or the lift he could give his team when they needed it to rise to the occasion and be winners? Why isn't a bigger deal made of this? Which is the rarer of a talent fundamental skill or leadership?
Posted: 2:08 PM   by Anonymous
why was the crowd dressed in white T-shirts?
Posted: 2:26 PM   by Anonymous
Kobe is one of the best individual players in the league, there is no doubt about that (I personally feel KG is a more versatile and dangerous player at any position). However, when you consider that Lebron and Wade are both still in the playoffs (neither had the Lakers meltdown), and the Heat are probably the only team to give the spurs or detriot a good series, suddenly Kobewankenobe looks more like the baby we saw when he and Shaq were fighting. (random side note: good guards are a dime a dozen in the NBA, but superstar big-men are hard to find. I am so happy that since Shaq left the Lakers have done nothing but fail. I love it when the front office thinks with their wallets instead of their heads and gets burned. Good choice Lakers, I hope you struggle like this for many many more years.)

You give Lebron or Wade the chance to shoot the ball 40-50 times and I guarantee you will see both of them hit the 80 point mark. The big difference is that neither one of them is that demanding of a ball-hog, and both of them play unbelievable team basketball. I would take either one of them, hands down, over Kobe in any situtation.
Posted: 2:28 PM   by Juan Cabrera
Oh the wisdom that comes from the playoffs, huh? If you're not from miami and you don't watch all these games you just don't understand the majic that Wade pumps out every night. No sportscenter can cram all the goodness of one his better games in one show. He pulls a miracle off every game. Watch. Become a believer.
Posted: 2:28 PM   by Anonymous
If Wade develops his 3 point shot, he will be the BEST player in the league.

He is as clutch as Kobe. He always has the ball in his hands with the game on the line. Just see that game against Detriot earlier this year when he scored the last 17 points straight for the heat and made the game winning shot.

He also shoots a higher percentage than both kobe and lebron.

He plays better defense than both of those guys too.

Why is he not considered the best? Lebron has had all the hype. Kobe has been around longer and takes more shots. And Wade plays with Shaq (which I think actually hurts his slashing ability because sa 320lb dude clogs the lane up).

Wade is the most exciting player in the league. He is probably also the most underrated.
Posted: 3:04 PM   by Anonymous
yo dwayne wade onlys shoots the ball about 18 to 21 shots a game .kobe shoots thrirty shots and lebron shoots anout 25
Posted: 3:07 PM   by Anonymous
Without a doubt D. Wade is an outstanding Basketball player no doubt. But LeBron James is more dominating all around. Lebron has several records already that rank him with some of the Greats: In his 1st playoff game triple-double; 1st road playoff game has the scoring record with 41pts; 2nd youngest to score triple-double in NBA history; 3rd in scoring this year at 31.7ppg, I could go on and on with this kids accomplishments at 21 years old. Add to it he has NO HELP on his team, and he is only going to get better. Can you imagine him playing with Shaq, they would win the NBA this year. So don't compare Wade with James it isn't fair. Only Miami fans think D. Wade is better. Who would pick 1st D. Wade or Lebron?
Posted: 3:19 PM   by jon
dwayne wade is the most skilled and amazing out of those two players who ever said he ranks in the top 10 through 15 is a idiot and knows nothing about basketball, if you watch the way dwayne plays he moves in the paint are amazing
Posted: 3:38 PM   by Anonymous
Hall of Fame consideration comes after retirement, save for Kobe neither Lebron or Wade have been alive long enough, give it a rest
Posted: 4:03 PM   by Anonymous
When did anyone ever say Jordan wanted to "be like Kobe"? That has to be one of the most absurd statements of all time? Why would Jordan want to be like Kobe, a selfish prima donna who indefensibly checked himself out of GAME SEVEN of a playoff series an a misguided attempt to avoid the blame that would come with the Lakers' historic collapse. Can you imagine Jordan ever scoring only one point in the second half of such an important game? Not a chance - Jordan was a winner, and he never would have quit on his teammates like that.

Kobe might be the league's most talented player, but he's a total headcase, and until he figures all his issues out, he'll never be the league's best player. I'd take LeBron or Wade over Kobe in a HEARTBEAT.

Btw, Kobe without Shaq hasn't won a single playoff series.
Posted: 4:23 PM   by Anonymous
D-Wade is one of my favorite players to watch in the NBA, and doesn't get enough credit for how good he is. I only wish the team would rally around him & Shaq and play up to their potential each night. This Miami team should be a lock down defensive team and I really don't understand why Coach Riles doesn't play Zo & Shaq together more often. I hope they can develop more chemistry before they reach Detroit or they could go out in five against the Pistons.
Posted: 4:46 PM   by Anonymous
A healthy Tracy McGrady is better than Dwyane Wade and is easily in the same level as Kobe and LeBron.

Can't really factor this season since he was injured most of the time. But do look at the 2005 Playoffs where he averaged ~30 ppg and also shut Nowitzki down on the defensive end.
Not to mention the clutch 13 points in 35 seconds including the game-winning 3 against the Spurs last year who had a tremendous defense and went on to win the championship. Also, even further back, look what he did in Orlando. Won two scoring titles and averaged a 30+ PER for the season which no one had done before that since Jordan.

I think McGrady doesn't get enough recognition for his talent.
Posted: 4:48 PM   by Anonymous
Me being from Miami, I've seen Dwyane Wade play a lot of games, and if you think he lacks defense, you've not seen him play in very many games. The guy hustles like crazy on defense, i.e. the blocks he had against the Bulls when he came over to help from the weak side, and the many steals he's had already in the playoffs vs both the Bulls and the Nets. Wade's defense is good, although not close to being as good a man-on defender as Bowen, he's a aggressive, helps from the weak side, and most importantly, MAKES PLAYS!
Posted: 5:00 PM   by Anonymous
andrew bynum is the next shaq. mark that one down.now, dwayne wade is a winner and will win several titles. he will lead the olympic team. lebron- well lets just say we are all witnesses
Posted: 5:02 PM   by Anonymous
This postseason is not the ascent of Wade, did nobody see last years playoffs where in a playoff series he did what only three players have done in history 25 points on 50% shooting, 7 assists and 7 rebounds. I think with about four weeks left in this season Wade was about 1st or 2nd in MVP consideration but dropped off (deservedly) because the Heat were pretty much locked in the number two seed and he was coasting along with the rest of the team. On the other hand Kobe and LeBron were desperately fighting to secure a seed in the playoffs and needed big performances to remain in the hunt. Either way Wade is probably the most effecient player in the NBA and I would rather have that that then the alternative.
Posted: 5:10 PM   by Anonymous
Dwayne Wade is easy top 5 player in this league.I pretty much watch all of the heat games you can see how talented this guy is.He's box score state are always around 27 pionts 7 assts 7 Rebs 2 to3 steals. A All round player an unselfish.He stock is rising.We'll have to wait and see.Wade and lebron are team players ,Kobe is the best scorer in the league, i will give you that, but selfish and arrogent.i will take Lebron & Wade over kobe anyday.ITS A TEAM GAME.
Posted: 5:23 PM   by Anonymous
Nenad Krstic is the best center in the NBA - in the next 3-5 years. Unlike other 7 footers he can also play basketball...
Posted: 5:24 PM   by Anonymous
i can understand the hype around lebron's offensive talents. but as far as defense? please. he couldnt guard a cup of water in his own kitchen. and i've been a bit turned off by the nba with all of the hype surrounding him. can we wait until he's done something worthy in the playoffs before annointing him the next mj. in my opinion, neither lebron nor kobe are the next mj just yet. they have flaws in their game. lebron doesnt play much defense, if any, and kobe likes to shoot a lot and quit on his team to prove a point at critical times. oh, and d.wade made the playoffs in his 1st season w/o shaq so lets give him some credit for being a really good player despite having shaq there.
Posted: 5:25 PM   by Anonymous
Phillip,

If you want to see highlights, go to NBA.com
Posted: 5:48 PM   by Anonymous
With no disrespect to kobe or lebron, I think wade is as good as anyone. He has improved a lot over the last 3 years. With him shooting 3 pointers now, the only thing he needs in his game is better defense and some maturity. He gets annoyed with defenders. He just needs to develop some celverness to make plays for his team mates when he is down. I hope he would get all this during this postseason and over the summer. From next year on, I would like to see the real flash, one who is un-stoppable. If kobe and lebron are future hall of famers, I am sure wade is a future hall of famer too.
Posted: 6:33 PM   by Anonymous
why arent people making a bigger deal of him? because their is a player like lebron james not just "staking a claim" to the playoffs but doing much more. he single handedly won the series against washington. and at least made somewhat of a game of it against detroit. bron bron is the best player in the league, and the scary thing is hes younger than wade. wade can do things, bron can do them better.
Posted: 6:37 PM   by Anonymous
comment to a post earlier, wade isnt as athletic as lebron. not as strong, doesnt have the ability to just manhandle a defendant to the hoop. and yes he has to defer to another superstar, exactly why bron and kobe doing more with less is more impressive. you dont think shaq takes pressure of D-wade? bron is getting triple teamed right now, no way nets triple team D wade and leave shaq in the middle. that is the dumbest argument ive ever heard. and look at the numbers, d wade takes just as many shots as bron does.
Posted: 6:48 PM   by Anonymous
Wade is overated on deffense just because he get's alot of steals. I've seen Wade get torched on deffense in many games. Just because he gets alot of steals, doesn't make him a sound deffensive player. Plus he has a far superior supporting cast to Lebron or especially Carmelo.
Posted: 8:34 PM   by Anonymous
Kobe is indeed the MOST talented player in terms of pure physical ability. No one player can guard him effectively. But the same can be said of LeBron and Dwayne. The difference is that with James and Wade, both of them have the ability to lead their teams without having to hoist 400 shots in a quarter to keep their team afloat, despite having other more than capable players on the floor with them. And that fact alone separates James and Wade from Bryant. Wade has gone about re-writing the face of the Heat franchise quietly, effeiciently, without a lot of media hype but with scintillating moves, slashing cuts, and dazzling displays of power and finesse around the hoop. When injured, he adjusted his game to take what the defense gave him, and still was effective without hogging the ball. That ability alone puts him ahead of Bryant, who, great a talent as he is, just cannot seem to get it together to lead his team past the loser's bracket (see "Meltdown in Phoenix, Game 7" for the latest Bryant collapse). So, Bryant though more talented than the aforementioned, takes a back seat to James, who takes a backseat to Wade. Wade is the best player in the playoffs, and possibly, the NBA, at his position right now.
Posted: 12:13 AM   by Anonymous
Dwyane Wade is a special player. There isn't a better winner in the league. In his rookie year, he led the Heat past the hornets and they hung tough against the pacers. He averaged about 5 more points in the playoffs. Did you see him hit the game winner and posterize jermaine o'neal? Even he didn't get injured last season, the Heat would be defending their title right now. No one can carry a team like Wade. He always finds a way to win the game. His playoffs games will be legendary. I think when it's all said and done, he will be better than kobe, lebron and everyone else
Posted: 7:40 AM   by Anonymous
Kobe is Jordan without soul. He's the anti-Jordan. He's Bizarro to MJ's Superman. I have a new nick for him... Kobe-zarro.
Posted: 2:22 PM   by NBAismycrack
The "Flash" is the most entertaining, efficient, superstar the league has to offer. As noted by earlier posts, he shoots around 20 shots a game, defers to Shaq and other "heaters" because agaisnt good defenses they cannot create their own shots. He creates for them and closes the game for them, and does it all without this ridiculous sense of entitlement that Kobe, Lebron, and the rest of the MJ chasers continuously display. Dwyane leads by example, always makes his precense felt, reads the game to provide his team what's needed, and never takes a game off, all that plus ridiculous dunks, crossovers, serpentine layups, and the will to improve on mistakes...Out of all the heirs to 23's throne, he feels right.
Posted: 8:18 PM   by Anonymous
d.wade is a beast...he carries miami on his shoulders all the time...sure he has shaq, but shaq is kinda washed up now...not the shaq monster he used to be when he was with the lakers...he is at LEAST on the same level as lebron and kobe...if not better...

also, tmac maybe as talented as these guys,but he has to lead a team out of the 1st round 1st before you can say he's in the same league as the 3...
Posted: 3:19 PM   by bluesky
When Shaq first wins championship with Lakers, he wants new contract extension, Dr. Buss gives a new one, but Shaq still not happy, he wants more, why? Lakers treats players better than the Bulls treat Jordan and Pippen, did the Bulls pay Pippen 17,18 mil ? the last time Jordan got 30 mil, he has to go, did the Bulls give Jordan front office job like Lakers give to Magic ? LeBron James, and Wade are very good player, but untill they can get to NBA Finals, or they can beat a good team in a conference finals, don't compare them with Kobe yet.
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