“Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t. That’s how I feel.”
For the record, Wade says nuts are the bad days. Ten points in Game 3, including just one shot attempt in the first half? Nuts. Six points in Game 4? Double nuts.
The pain got so bad during the series that Wade’s trainers began taping down his knee to stabilize the area. You guessed it … just plain nuts.
And disconcerting, of course.
So much so that when Wade ducked into the locker room early in the fourth quarter, everyone feared the worst. Turns out, Wade just wanted to refashion his jerry-rigged knee one more time and squeeze a little more drama out of the game’s big finish. Hey, even the toughest gladiator is a showman at heart.
Wade checked into the game with 8:27 left and the knee was feeling playful. This was not a day for nuts after all.
Wade went to the soft floater at first: Heat 86, Bulls 83. Next came that familiar Euro-step move: Heat 88, Bulls 84. A block of Jimmy Butler’s three-pointer preserved a five-point lead with 3:22 to play.
Then, 20 seconds later, was the hammer stroke — a put-back dunk off a missed jumper by Norris Cole to give the Heat a seven-point advantage.
“He’s incredible — the way he finished that game,” Chris Bosh said. “I know a lot of people were giving him that question mark. Even if he was going to play, they weren’t really sure what he’d bring.
“We always know what he’s capable of. He was really able to put his print on the game late. Without that spurt, we probably don’t win.”
And, now, the beast lurches forward. Already there are questions about the Eastern Conference finals. Will there be candy and nuts in the next round? Will the duct tape hold?
“I don’t know what it’s going to be from Day One to Day Two,” Wade said. “Only thing I can do is do what I’m doing. If it gets better, I think you guys will know, and if it doesn’t, I’ll continue to go out there and keep doing what I can.”