An experience that had become routine for Dwyane Wade over the years suddenly was foreign.It was so new Wade for a moment thought about returning in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center. Then he thought against it.
“I’m normally in there at the end,” Wade said. “It was a part of me that really wanted to be in there. I came out in the second half and I felt a lot better. I wanted to play but I decided not to for the better of our season.”
As expected, the night ended earlier than usual for Wade in the Eastern Conference’s 163-155 victory against the West. Wade left with 5 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the third quarter, becoming a cheerleader the remainder.
He experienced the game from a “different lense.”
“Just on my vet stuff this year,” Wade said. “I actually got it from other vets. I’ve been around guys when they were older and how they approached the All-Star Game, where they kind of let the younger guys go out there and enjoy themselves and get a feel for the game and have fun. I just kind of chilled a little bit.”
Wade fulfilled his duty to the fans by scoring 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting in 11 minutes. The plan all along was for him to take it easy this weekend and enjoy the festivities from the sideline instead of on the court.
At this point in his career, rest is more important than competing in a game that has no bearing on the Heat’s hopes of winning third straight title. No, he left the acrobatic dunks to the younger generation.
Most of the high-flying plays from the Eastern Conference backcourt came from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, who grabbed most valuable player honors after scoring a team-high 30 points.
Wade spent most of his time on the bench, watching the show.
“I was mic’d up the whole time, so they got a lot of stuff and quotes and sayings from me,” Wade said. “I was just being a fan and out there rooting the guys on.”
The game served as opportunity to recover from missing the past two games because of a migraine and foot soreness. Wade has missed 15 games this season, with all but two for injury-related reasons.
But this was more than just about rest. Wade changed his entire approach to the weekend, spending the bulk of his time with family.
“My first couple years, I did everything possible,” Wade said. “I didn’t get no sleep. I barely ate. You try to get everything in. This time, I didn’t go out as much. I went out one night. I went to listen to jazz music, sit back and enjoy myself with my loved ones and not really worried being in the scene as much. When you’re younger, you want to get it all in.”
The New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony had 30 points, making a record 8 3-pointers. Heat forward LeBron James finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant each scored 38 points for the West.Griffin defends LeBron
With most questioning his decision to skip the NBA's slam dunk contest, James has the support of at least one of the game's top dunkers.
Griffin said he could understand why James has chosen not to participate in the event. Griffin won the contest in 2011, but has yet to return to the field.
"It would be great for basketball but out of anybody, I get it," Griffin said. "If you don't want to do the dunk contest, I get it. It's a time where guys are trying to get rest. And a guy who's played in the Finals the last three years, playing late into June and playing USA Basketball and heavy minutes for his team, you need all the rest you can get."
James has repeatedly said he has no interest in competing. Griffin also appeared headed that way.
"It just needs to be the right time and the right opportunity," Griffin said. "It doesn't need to change or they don't need to put a whole lot of this or that in there. It's just one of those things if I feel like it's a good year and if I'm healthy enough, I'll consider it."
Harden agrees with Durant
Last September Durant made news by saying Houston Rockets guard James Harden belonged on SI.com's list of top 10 players.
Durant said Harden should have been ahead of the Heat's Dwyane Wade. And Harden agreed when asked about the subject.
"It is what it is," Harden said. "[Durant] knows what he's talking about."
Later, Harden refused to single out Wade, saying he just felt he belonged on the list somewhere.
"I don't even know who was on the list," Harden said. "I don't really care about that list. I go out there and play basketball and do my best. I'll let you guys talk about that."
Kobe downplays Mount Rushmore remark
A notable omission from James' "Mount Rushmore" was Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who has won more titles than Robertson and Bird combined.
"Mount Rushmore," Bryant said. "You've got to understand I'm an Italian kid, so I don't even know how many presidents are on Mount Rushmore."
When asked his top four, Bryant said Johnson, Bird, Jordan and Bill Russell.