Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NBA Playoffs: Can the Heat win without a healthy Dwyane Wade?

Can the Miami Heat win without a healthy Dwyane Wade?

YES –This is LeBron James’ team now. If this were last year, I would probably have a different answer. But James’ maturation process is evident through his stellar 4th quarter play and his free-throw making abilities (Thanks to Ray Allen).

Wade has been struggling noticeably this postseason. D-Wade said he had “shooting pains”  in his injured right knee after he tweaked his right knee early in the second quarter of Game 4 when attempting a fade-away jump-shot; the pain was so bad that he had to come out of the game.

Wade is set to have treatment today in Miami and has been using tape to help stabilize his kneecap.

Wade has averaged a career low 12 points a game this post-season on only 44% shooting. One good thing is that Wade clearly knows he may not be the same player he once was — Wade’s taking less shots. He is only hoisting up 11 shots per game while in the regular season he attempted 16 a game. So Wade’s offensive struggles have been minimized, to some extent.

Wade has also focused more on the defensive end and grabbing rebounds (Miami’s only weakness, if they had one). But he is more important off the court — he is a leader in the locker room, even if LeBron is the Heat’s on-court king.

With all the major injuries in this year’s season, Miami still has the edge in talent on the roster. If Wade cannot play full strength this would be the ideal year while every other team has injury concerns.

I would consider shutting down Dwayne Wade for the remainder of the Bulls’ series.  We need him to rest up for the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls have tapped out including the Little Engine That Couldn’t, Nate Robinson, who scored zero points last night on 0-of-12 shooting.


Eric N. Ellington covers the Miami Heat for You can follow him @EricNEllington

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