Dwyane Wade just had the worst playoff game of his career.
Thursday night the Heat ran some sets just for Wade early yet he was scoreless in the first half and eventually finished the game 2-13 shooting with five turnovers to one assist. He was frustrated, which led to him jawing some at coach Erik Spoelstra. His meltdown was the front wave of the Heat’s Game 3 collapse.
Wade is dealing with lingering injuries that forced him to miss several games late in the regular season, and the Miami Heat guard required treatment in recent days for knee and leg soreness, sources told ESPN.com on Thursday.
Wade wouldn’t discuss the injury, nor would he discuss the incident with Spoelstra (saying he didn’t even remember it).
That said, it is clearly impacting his play — that was not the normal Wade out there Thursday. He wasn’t attacking with his regular abandon, rather he settled for jumpers. Indy is doing a nice job of throwing different defenders and looks at Wade, but he is still one of the game’s elite scorers. He can get his. Well, he can when healthy.
Wade’s poor performance combined with the now threatening Miami elimination in the second round had some fans Friday suggesting Wade should be traded. Fortunately Heat management would never do something so idiotic. First off, there just are not enough players of his quality on the planet and you could never get equal value back. Second, this is the guy who stuck with the Heat through some very lean years and helped recruit the talent they have now — and you’ll coldly dump him after one playoff series? That’s how you end up with Isiah Thomas’ Knicks roster.
Miami has a lot of problems, starting with the fact the Pacers are good. Miami was going to have to play well to beat them, and they sorely miss Chris Bosh’s size and ability to pull bigs out of the paint with his jump shot. Now add to that a hobbled Wade and it may be too much for Miami to overcome.
We will find out Sunday because if the Heat don’t win then and go down 3-1 the Heat’s problems will become insurmountable.
The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.
Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.
Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.
You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)
“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”
It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.
It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. Dukie@yahoo.com or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.
Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.
“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”
“It’s nothing punitive,” Skiles said after the Magic’s shootaround.
“It’s just we feel like we’ve got to try to find a little bit better balance. I’d like Victor to have some more opportunities like he’s had a little bit in the past where he can be on top of the floor and attack and get a little bit more vertical and not only get to the rim but just be a little bit more on the attack but not necessarily start the game that way.”
Here are the offensive/defensive/net ratings for the
Former starting lineup: 94.7/111.2/-16.5
New starting lineup: 117.2/90.3/+26.8
The new unit has played just 33 minutes in two games, so major sample-size caveats apply. But I like idea of seeing more of what has worked.
I suspect Skiles also wants to keep his players from becoming content. At 6-8 and coming off three straight seasons outside the playoffs, they should have no reason to feel satisfied, but the hard-driving Skiles will be proactive.
If Oladipo – whose defense Skiles values – can get sent to the bench, anyone can.
At some point, the Magic must determine whether Oladipo and Payton – both below-average 3-point shooters – can share a backcourt. But it’s also worth knowing whether Oladipo can excel as a super sub leading bench players.
This switch might help the Magic win now, but at worse, it’ll give them more information for evaluating their young roster. Seems smart all around.