Dwyane Wade, taking big-picture view, feeling better as playoffs near

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BOSTON – Dwyane Wade receives treatment in so many forms, he loses track of how each device affects his knee.

“If they want to hook me up to a car battery, that’s fine with me,” Wade said. “I’m going to jump on it, maybe in the playoffs.”

If all goes according to plan though, Wade won’t need a jumpstart for the postseason. He’ll be hitting his stride then.

Wade has already missed 17 games this season, but he’s feeling better and better.

“Last year at this time, I was going the opposite the way,” Wade said.

It showed in the playoffs, where Wade’s PER declined to 18.7 from 24.0 in the regular season. It’s typical for players’ production to fall as competition stiffens in the postseason, but that drop of 5.3 was the second-largest of Wade’s career. Only the extreme case of 2006-07 – when Wade missed 30 games, returned to play just five before the playoffs, still led the NBA in PER and then couldn’t stop the Bulls from sweeping Miami in the first round – saw a bigger drop.

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Regular season in red. Post season in gold.

To avoid a similar fate this season, Wade has committed to the Heat’s plan that includes specialized workouts – and sitting out games he could otherwise play.

“I wasn’t comfortable with it,” said Wade, who’s already missed four more games than he did last season. “I’m sure it was uncharted waters for them as well. But it was something I felt I needed to do.”

The Heat are just 11-6 without Wade, but they see the end game.

“In order for us to contend and win, at the end of the day, he has to be on his A game,” LeBron said. “…Trying to three-peat, it’s not going to happen in June. It happens from the beginning of the season. We have to prepare every single day.”

For Wade, sometimes that preparation means sitting with what might as well be a car battery attached to his knee.

Is that worth it?

“It’s just about this picture we always call the bigger picture,” Wade said. “Who knows if it’s right or wrong? You’ve just got to make a decision and go with it.”

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.