2. 2011 vs Dallas Mavericks
Stats: 26.5 PPG, 54.6 FG%, 7.0 REB, 5.2 AST, 1.5 STL, 1.5 BLK
Wade was a man on a mission in the 2011 Finals. After being eliminated in the first round in three straight playoff appearances, it was time to get back to that championship level. The Heat did not lose this series because of Dwyane Wade.
Wade was basically putting up 27, 7 and 5 on a game-to-game basis while making nearly 55% of his shots. This was his most efficient Final series as he sliced and diced his way to the basket. Game 2 was one of the best games of Wade’s playoff career — 36 points on 65% shooting is next-level stuff. Wade was still in his prime and his first step, not yet effected by his knee, was second to none.
He had a great case as the best player in this series. 2023 Hall of Fame classmate, Dirk Nowitzki, was named Finals MVP after Dallas beat Miami in six games. Wade had the better counting stats and a higher True Shooting percentage (61.4 to 53.7), but Dirk had great clutch moments in the series.
A player on the losing team has been named Finals MVP one time. Jerry West did it back in 1969, the inaugural year for the award. Though Wade was spectacular, it was a steep hill to climb to grab this award for the second time. This wasn’t the first time he outplayed Dirk in a Finals matchup…