Dwyane Wade says he plans to be more aggressive when his Miami Heat take on the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. He better be. There are 70-year-old nuns who are more aggressive than Wade was in the Heat's Game 1 loss at OKC Tuesday night.
Yes, the Heat's superstar guard has a balky left knee that has given him problems all season. That's definitely part of the problem. The quick first step that used to help him blow by defenders seems a thing of the past.
But Wade also seemed astonishingly passive at times in Game 1. His shooting bottom line was ugly: 19 points on 19 shots. He had eight assists and four rebounds and scored seven points in the final quarter -- same as LeBron James, who finished with 30. But both players were anything but clutch in that final stanza when the Thunder kicked their game into another gear and sealed the win.
At a press conference Wednesday, Wade seemed wistful talking about the player he used to be, the incomparable scorer and playmaker he was six years ago when the Heat won the NBA championship.
"I was 24," Wade told reporters. "Totally different. Six years ago, man. I'm not that athletic, I'll tell you that, as I was in '06."
It was an honest statement, sure. But it must have been hard for a proud man like Wade to admit that at age 30, he's playing like the shadow of the great athlete he once was.
If the knee is limiting him that much, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra might have to rest Wade more and figure out how to get more scoring from some other Heat player not named LeBron.
But if it's more a case of Wade deferring too much to James on the scoring end, if it's more a case of Wade being too timid and settling for jump shots instead of driving to the basket and making something happen, then he needs a wake-up call in the worst way.
"I'll be more aggressive," he promised Wednesday.
There's no question that most of the pressure has been on LeBron James in this postseason run by the Heat.
But the pressure's definitely on Wade tonight. He can't keep disappearing at big moments. Can't play as passive as he did in Game 1.
Or else the season will end on a real ugly note for the Heat.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun