The Miami Heat have made relatively easy work of the Charlotte Bobcats so far during the first round bout in the Eastern Conference.
The defending champions already hold a commanding 2-0 lead and are in a position to close out the series as early as Monday, barring a surprise loss, of course. Though that does seem highly unlikely considering Miami has beaten the ‘Cats 18 straight times and their star player is playing through the agony of a damaged plantar fascia.
Nonetheless, that’s not to say there hasn’t been any some interesting material to come out of the games already played.
Dwyane Wade Looks Healthy
If you look back through recent history, you would struggle to find an NBA playoff run in which Dwyane Wade hasn’t carried some sort of ailment. This year, coach Erik Spoelstra was determined to change that by taking several measures, such as leaving him out of back-to-back games, to ensure his All-Star was at peak physical health and so far so good.
Wade has played roughly 35 minutes in Games 1 and 2 against Charlotte and put up 19 points a game on 53 percent shooting, along with 3.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. More so than the numbers, the payoff can be seen in the way he moves all around the court. He now has that pep in his step and seems to be moving freely.
Heck, he was feeling so good he even attempted two 3-pointers … and he made one of them.
Maybe giving up the top seed in the Eastern Conference wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Chris Bosh‘s offensive troubles could be over
Chris Bosh may have finished the season with a healthy 16-point-per-game scoring average for the 2013-14, but it should have been more.
Dwyane Wade continued to struggle to stay healthy therefore Bosh was expected to step up and fill the void during the 12 games he missed in the closing stages of the season. However, he wasn’t able to make the transition from the being the third scorer on the team, to LeBron James’ wingman and actually regressed in the final 20 games as his scoring output fell to just 14.7.
Unsurprisingly, the team as a whole suffered with the Miami Heat posting a 10-10 record to close out the season.
It appeared as if his offensive rut would spill over to the postseason after he amassed just 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field in Game 1 of the series, then came an extremely efficient 20-point output in the ensuing game, shooting 8-for-11 from the field.
What made the performance even more impressive though was the 3-point barrage, as he finished the game with four makes from five attempts beyond the arc. That takes his conversation rate to an incredible 66 percent through the first two games of the 2014 playoffs, almost double his regular season rate – 34percent.
A skeptic would probably argue that it’s a just a couple of games so it’s no big deal, but just think of what it could do for his confidence in the long run. And if he maintains a decent percentage, it could have a huge bearing on the team’s overall success this year.
Plus, it’s not like anyone expects to keep firing at such a level.
LeBron’s assault on history continues
LeBron James’ relentless pursuit of NBA Immortality continues as the four-time Most Valuable Player (and reigning NBA Finals MVP) passed Larry Bird for the eighth spot in the NBA playoffs scoring list during the 99-88 Game 1 win.
So how did he do it then? Was it a long range bomb from 3-point territory, a ridiculous layup in traffic, or perhaps a monster jam on some poor soul? Nope. It was a good old-fashioned two free throws with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Nonetheless, the feat is still remarkable because James is still only 29 years old, seven years younger than when Bird scored his last points, which means he has a realistic chance of catching this guy at 5,897, by the time he is 34 years old. Provided he continues to play 13.8 playoff games per season and score 28 points per game.
Next up, Jerry West at 4,457 points.
I wonder if Udonis Haslem is having nightmares about Gerald Henderson yet after the Bobcat guard rejected him at the rim in spectacular fashion during Game 1.
It’s not like it’s the first time either. Just look at this huge block from the regular season.
U.D. may have had the last laugh since Miami won both games but that will surely do a lot of damage to his psyche.