The Miami Heat finally seem to be firing on all cylinders as the NBA regular season comes to a close. The Heat have won six of their last seven games after last night’s, 123-107 road victory versus the Washington Wizards. Miami currently sits at 51-23, two games behind the Chicago Bulls for the top spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Dwyane Wade once again has been the silent assassin and the leader that fuels the boys down in South Beach. Even with the additions of All-Star talents such as LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade has put up MVP caliber numbers. D-Wade is averaging 25.7 points-per-game, 4.5 assists-per-game, and 6.6 rebounds-per-game. With the game on the line the Heat should be turning to number three more often and you’ll likely see that come playoff time. D-Wade discussed his roller coaster season with Miami and who he worries about the most going into the postseason. Dwyane Wade joined ESPN New York/Los Angeles on the The Stephen A. Smith Show to discuss how the Miami Heat finally got comfortable and start gelling with the “Big Three,” how difficult has this season been for him personally, who’s taking the last shot in the waning moments for the Heat in the playoffs, does he consider himself an MVP candidate, who worries him the most going into the NBA playoffs and what does he say to the folks who doubt Carmelo Anthony during the Knicks recent struggles.
How did you guys get comfortable? What transpired that ultimately got you all comfortable? What happened specifically?
“Well I mean first of all one thing is time. You know having time playing with each other. Getting time to understand guys strengths and their weaknesses and putting everyone in a position where they can succeed. I think one thing that really helped us was Chris Bosh aggressiveness. When he came out and said I want the ball and he changed up his game in a way where he didn’t just settle for outside shots. He decided to get in the paint more. He changed it up by rolling more to the basket that allowed myself and LeBron [James] to make more plays again and me and LeBron actually started doing things together where he started rolling and playing. He’s [LeBron James] more of a forward type with me at the one, so we just switched some things up, changed some things, put guys in a position where they can be successful and it’s worked out for us.”
How difficult has this season been for you personally?
“Well it was a transition up here no doubt about it. Anybody thinks that it is easy to bring two other very good players, superstars into the team, and make it work, that your game automatically changes. You know they’re fooling themselves. This is one of the hardest things in basketball wise that I had to overcome being on the court and trying to find my way. There were times on the court where I felt just helpless and just out there and all of us have felt that way throughout the season because we all talked about it. So we’re trying to find a happy medium between how can I be successful, make the team successful, still get the other guys the ball, etc. And do what I do. You know most of anything. I think of late…I hope of late that people have seen that I’ve been very aggressive you know at the times I know have to and that’s late in games.
Who’s taking the last shot in the waning moment if the Heat go deep into the playoffs?
“That’s been the question all year man. You know what, the only thing we can do in the moment is wait and see. I think now it’s going to be different times where we going to have matchups and I’m going to take some of them. There’s going to be times where LeBron is going to take some of them. I think the biggest thing Stephen A., when it comes to that time we have to have better execution and not just run an isolation all the time. Let’s get it to sets. Let’s use what we have to put guys in situations where they have to make decisions and then take the shots. Instead of just getting it at the top of the key, isolating, and just say ‘I hope it goes in.’ “
Is Dwyane Wade a legitimate MVP candidate in your mind?
“Let me say this, I think a lot of people always from my whole career for the rest of my career is always going to overlook and underlook what I do as a basketball player. I think every year I have the numbers. I have the game to prove it. It’s just you know what I’m not the guy who they look at and say he should be MVP for whatever reason and you know what personally it doesn’t drive me to be MVP of this league. It drives me to when I get done playing this game for people to say ‘You know what we missed that guy because of what he did in this league.’ I don’t know if anybody else is going to be able to…I try to do things that 6’4′, that guys haven’t done before me and they’re going to have a hard time doing after me. I’m going to continue to try to do that and I go a lot of years to add to that, so one day I’ll be appreciated in this league.”
Who worries you the most? I would imagine it being the Boston Celtics? Am I correct in saying that?
“Yeah the Boston Celtics. No question about it. That’s the team we have to get over the hump on. It’s the team you know that’s had our number. It has beaten whether it’s a close game or if it’s a blowout or whatever. We have to get over the hump. I got knocked out of the playoffs you now last year in Miami versus them. LeBron got knocked out the last two years [by the Boston Celtics as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers]. You know so it’s building up to a great finish. It’s just about when it’s going to happen. I think we continue to just get better and get into our mind when we play them that we just as good as a team as them. It’s going to come down to the end of games. We have to execute. We have to do the little things to win the game and eventually you know we’ll get over the hump.”
What do you say to those folks who doubt or have questions about Carmelo Anthony in light of the Knicks recent struggles?
“They didn’t have those questions at the All-Star break. Everyone was in open arms of Carmelo Anthony coming to the city because you know what, New York do need a star player and Melo is that player. You know it’s a tough…it’s a tough transition right now for that team. They’re are used to things a certain way and it’s being changed. It happened to be changed on the fly and now they’re a team that everyone, when they play them on the schedule, they look at them and they like we need [to beat them], this would be a great win. For us it’s just like the [Los Angeles] Lakers. It’s just like Boston [Celtics]. It’s just like the Miami Heat this year. They [New York Knicks] have reached that level where teams are going to be playing their “A-Plus” game, so they’ll eventually get it. They got some great players on that team. Once they get their chemistry down they’ll be fine. I think everybody will be on the “Melo Love” bandwagon once again.”