I will give you fair warning right now. I am about to blaspheme, and I don't have the least little bit of remorse about it. The point to make is that Dwayne Wade just doesn't have it. I will say that he does still fill up the stat sheet nicely. He's averaging 20 points/game and 5 rebounds and assists per game as well, but he's missing the hunger. I understand that he's been working through some naggling injuries here and there so far this season, but if he's hurt, he shouldn't play. Guys like Ray Allen and Mike Miller could easily swallow up Wade's minutes, and the Heat wouldn't be losing all that much.
I don't think this is an injury related thing though. It's a mindset situation. As stated earlier, Wade still finds a way to get his numbers every night, but his "crunch time" numbers are ridiculously bad. Just yesterday, Wade had 17 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists, but he only shot 6 of 20 from the field. In the 4th quarter and overtime, he was clanking little chippies from inside 10 feet with uncontested clear looks at the hoop. I would expect Wade to turn things around come playoff time. He looks like a guy right now that doesn't care much about the regular season and just wants to get to the postseason. That's not "legendary" and as such, Wade isn't even a viable 3rd or 4th option for his team when the game is on the line.
Of course, it doesn't help the Heat that Coach Spoelstra is drawing up the plays either. I've never been impressed with this guy at all. You're telling me that out of a timeout and down 2 in the 2nd OT with 5.6 seconds to go that the best he could come up with was freeing up Battier for a 30-footer? Miami has the best player in the game, and the big plan didn't involve him even touching the ball on the last and deciding play. This isn't the first time this has ever happened in the Spoelstra era in Miami and moreso since LeBron came on the scene. And every time the coach plays that "this is what they're expecting, so this is what we're going to do instead" baloney, the Heat lose.
I don't care if the opposition is expecting it, LeBron James is the Michael Jordan of this era. He's got to have the ball in his hands and be trusted to make the right decisions when the game is on the line. He's earned that because he's done it time and time again. And I wonder if anyone else noticed after all was said and done, and Battier's "prayer" missed by a bunch? The body language of The King said it all. Shoulders down. What's up look on his face like "That's not the way I would have played it if I were the coach." It was very clear if you were paying close attention, and that's what I do because that's how I make my money.
THE NBA (2-5 yesterday)
SU WINNERS (4-3 yesterday)
RAPTORS, 76ERS, WIZARDS, NETS, BULLS, NUGGETS and Rockets
TOTALS (3-4 yesterday)
OVERS - Warriors/RAPTORS (192) and Pacers/NUGGETS (195)
UNDERS - Grizzlies/76ERS (178), Kings/WIZARDS (201), Magic/NETS (194), Bobcats/BULLS (186) and Rockets/JAZZ (207 1/2)
BUTTA (0-1 yesterday)
PARLAY: WIZARDS (-340) over Kings and NETS (-500) over Magic - The Wiz are rolling, but even against a horrible road team like the Kings, (-7 1/2) is still more chalk than I'm ready to lay with them. As for the Nets, they've come back to earth a little bit by getting pummeled by a couple of western conference teams in their last 2 games, but now they're safely back into their own conference and facing a weak Magic squad, but laying (-9) is as good as laying doubles, and I just don't do that. An interesting note about this game: The Magic are completing the b2b tonight, and as much fun as I've had "poking the bear" about how soft the league has been with the Heat's schedule so far this season, this will be only the 5th time this season that the Magic have played on consecutive nights. WIZARDS 112, Kings 83 and NETS 106, Magic 87
ALL THE REST
1. RAPTORS (+1 1/2) vs. Warriors - The Warriors could be in trouble here. They've been getting hammered on the boards over the last 4 or 5 games and giving up a bushel full of 2nd chance points. The Dinos may not be much, but they're not terrible either. And Toronto does have some capable front court players who will crash the glass. RAPTORS 106, Warriors 98
2. 76ERS (+3 1/2) vs. Grizzlies - I know the Griz are the better team, but they didn't show it at all last night in a home game. The big problem was there was no flow on offense once Mike Conley had to leave the game with an ankle injury and didn't return. Conley is listed as "questionable" for tonight, and I might have a different opinion if I find out he's going to play. The numbers say what they say though, and Conley's injury makes those numbers look more "capable". 76ERS 93, Grizzlies 77
3. BULLS (-11) over Bobcats - This game should certainly end up in a rout. If Lu Deng plays, and he's listed as "questionable", it probably will be. BULLS 91, Bobcats 73
4. NUGGETS (-5 1/2) over Pacers - It's been a tough western swing for the Pacers so far, and it ends tonight with maybe the most formidable opponent of the bunch. The Nugs just aren't getting beaten at home, and if the Pacers let Denver get out and push the tempo, they'll be in big trouble tonight. NUGGETS 108, Pacers 89
5. Rockets (+4) at JAZZ - I don't really agree with what my numbers for this game say. If the Rocks don't turn the ball over and play a little defense, I suppose it could happen the way the projection looks, but those are some mighty big "ifs" when you're talking about this Houston squad. Rockets 97, JAZZ 95
No college hoops for tonight. We'll be back at that trough again on Wednesday night. Have a great rest of your day, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.