The Heat have become black and white — there are no shades of gray with this team. People do not really tolerate the “I don’t like how they handed last summer but that was still a good basketball team” position. Love or hate. Black and white. Evil and good.
How you react to what you read next fully depends on where you stand on the Heat.
Dwyane Wade was being interviewed on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee and was asked about the hate the Heat endured (via Sports Radio Interviews).
Obviously we went through a lot last year. It was unfair some of the stuff that we had to endure but we grew from it. That’s over with. We move on to whenever we play basketball again and we will be a different team….
“It was tough. I’ve went through tougher things because at the end of the day it’s the game of basketball. You find the joy in it and at the end of the day we had a good team.”
Wade was also asked to provide some insights on LeBron, and he said what people don’t realize is they are similar.
LeBron is one of my best friends. A lot of the things in life we have similar from an upbringing and some of our beliefs. He’s human. He makes mistakes like all of us, like every other human being, and he’s going to do a lot of great things as well. I don’t know anything that no one doesn’t know. He’s a big kid man. He’s giddy, he’s goofy, but at the end of the day he’s a great teammate. He’s one of those guys that will bring everybody on the bus coffee in the morning, he’s one of those teammates.”
When the season started, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were playing next to each other. Basically taking turns with shockingly little action unless they were in transition.
Slowly that has evolved as the season has worn on.
Now, they are working in unison — sometimes as a pick-and-roll pairing, sometimes with James working off the ball on the weak side, sliding up the baseline and exploding to the rim for a pass — to devastate the Boston Celtics. Beckley Mason writing for ESPN emphasizes quotes from LeBron James to talk about that evolution.
“I’ve definitely played off the ball this year more than I have in my previous seven years,” James said. “I knew coming into this situation that D-Wade is & you know we’re just sort of the same guys when it comes to pick-and-roll basketball throughout our careers. So I knew I would definitely have to watch film and adjust my game plan off the ball and finding spots and creases underneath the rim or on the weak side where I could still help the team without the ball in my hand.”
Mason notes that in this series in particular Miami has exposed the Celtics overload defense with quick ball movement, which has led to a secondary pick-and-roll on the weak side before the defense sets. With two great wing penetrators spread on the floor, they can make it very hard for the Celtics — or any defense to recover.
But it took time to get here. For the first part of the season the guy on the weak side — James or Wade — just seemed to float and wait for a kickout and his turn. There were no dives to the basket, no actions set up to free the weak side player. Just you go then I go.
Now, it’s different.
“If there’s nothing going on for D-Wade I can be on the weak side when he swings it to me then I have the ability to get away from the defense because all of them are on the strong side,” James said.
The Celtics are paying the price.
But maybe the scariest thing — they are only going to get better at it.