Dwayne Wade finds touch when Heat needed it the most - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Dwayne Wade finds touch when Heat needed it the most

Posted: Updated:
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) is defended by San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, during the first half at Game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Thursday, June 13, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle, Pool) Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) is defended by San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, during the first half at Game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Thursday, June 13, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle, Pool)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The biggest adjustment for Dwyane Wade came hours before Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

It was when Miami coach Erik Spoelstra made the decision to start Mike Miller over Udonis Haslem, with the thinking that it would help thwart San Antonio's defensive schemes against LeBron James.

Instead, it served as a time machine of sorts for Wade — who found his form again, on a night when the Heat absolutely needed it most.

The Finals are now a best-of-three series that will be decided next week in Miami, thanks largely to Wade, who came up with his best game in months to carry the Heat in Game 4 on Thursday night. He had 32 points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists, and the Heat shook off an early 10-point deficit to beat the Spurs 109-93 on Thursday night.

The series is knotted at two games apiece, with Game 5 in San Antonio on Sunday.

"Right now it's a three-game series," Wade said. "Two great ballclubs, we just want to come out again and play well."

Wade's postseason has been highly un-Wade-like, with him averaging only 14.2 points in the playoffs entering Thursday. His right knee has been an issue for more than three months — not coincidentally, that's also when his last 30-point outing before Game 4 was. And by the time fourth quarters roll around, he's typically been finished, getting an average of 2.3 points in the final 12 minutes of games in these playoffs.

He is not the 2006 version anymore, without question.

But what the Spurs did against him defensively Thursday had to strike a nerve.

Because the Heat started Miller, the Spurs had no choice but to open the game with Tiago Splitter — their center — guarding Wade. That experiment ended after 47 seconds. And in the second half, the Spurs went to Boris Diaw — another person who it's difficult to envision guarding a former Finals MVP who's quicker and smaller — to open against Wade.

Nonetheless, it got Wade going.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, left, talks with teammate forward Chris Bosh during the first quarter of Game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball series against the San Antonio Spurs, Thursday, June 13, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, David Santiago)

He made 14 of 25 shots, significant in both terms of success ratio and amount, since it's the second-highest shot total he's taken this season. He wanted the ball, and the Heat wanted him to have the ball.

"How are you going to respond?" Wade asked his teammates before the game.

He apparently took those words to heart as well.

The lineup change worked, and that's with Miller scoring exactly zero points.

  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:29 PM EDT2014-08-31 02:29:34 GMT
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.More >>
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.
    More >>
  • Fans ready for start of football season

    Fans ready for start of football season

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:45:46 GMT
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.More >>
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.
    More >>
  • UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:13:29 GMT
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:10 AM EDT2014-08-31 05:10:40 GMT
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...More >>
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...
    More >>
  • Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 2:59 PM EDT2014-08-27 18:59:15 GMT
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
  • No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:54:33 GMT
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.More >>
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.
    More >>