UPDATE 6:55 p.m. ET: Wade told reporters before the game that he will play in Game 5. It’s worth monitoring his minutes and his usage to see just how much he’s able to give while playing with the lingering injury.
12:30 p.m. ET:Dwyane Wade participated in shootaround for the Heat Wednesday morning, but is listed as a game-time decision for Game 5 against the Bulls.
Wade is suffering through a knee injury, which was reaggravated during Miami’s Game 4 win in Chicago on Monday.
“He had a very good day [Tuesday] and a good shootaround,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said, via ESPN.com. “We’ll evaluate him before the game and go from there.”
If Wade is medically cleared to play, Spoelstra will let him do so without restrictions.
“If he’s able to go, there’s no excuses and he’ll give us everything he’s got,” Spoelstra said. “He’ll help us on both sides of the court. He’s one of the best two-way players in this game. He’s been making an impact regardless of what people think about that last column in the box score.”
That last part is Spoelstra continuing to defend Wade in the face of criticism that he simply isn’t performing at the level we’ve come to expect, and that his sub-par level of activity might not be enough for the Heat to reach their ultimate goal of repeating as champions.
The answer might be to sit Wade in Game 5 to give his knee some extra time to rest, just as Miami did in the series-clinching game of its first round series against the Bucks. But it’s a little trickier with this Bulls team considering the fight they’ve shown at times in this series, and the Heat will likely have anywhere from four to six days to prepare for the Eastern Conference finals if they can close out Chicago on Wednesday.
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.
The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.
Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll picked up a deserved flagrant for this foul.
With a couple of minutes left to go in the second quarter, Isaiah Thomas made the steal when DeMar DeRozan lost the ball on a drive, and Thomas was off to the races. Trying to prevent a lay-up, Carroll decided to foul Thomas far from the basket, but did so with a forearm shove that sent Thomas sprawling on the ground.
Thomas got up and had words, as did Jae Crowder.
Carroll got a flagrant and a technical, Thomas and Crowder each picked up technicals for jumping in.
When Stephen Curry wore a headband through the All-Star Game last weekend, West coach Steve Kerr jokingly called him “Seth” all night.
Dallas’ Seth Curry came out of the week-long break playing like an All-Star. He dropped 31 on the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night, a career high for him. He hit 13-of-17 from the field, including three from beyond the arc, but did a lot of his damage in the midrange.
It wasn’t enough, the Timberwolves got a comfortable 97-84 win behind 27 points from Andrew Wiggins and 26 from Karl-Anthony Towns. Nerlens Noel was not yet with his new team in time to play for the Mavs in this game.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points despite foul trouble and the San Antonio Spurs shook off the rust from a nine-day layoff to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-97 on Friday night for their third straight win.
Pau Gasol added 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in his return from a 15-game absence because of a fractured finger. LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dewayne Dedmon grabbed 12 rebounds.
Blake Griffin scored 29 points for the Clippers, who have dropped consecutive games to the league’s two winningest teams since the All-Star break ended. They lost by 10 points at Golden State a night earlier. The Spurs have the league’s second-best record at 44-13.
Chris Paul added 17 points in his return after missing five weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.