SACRAMENTO -- Off days on the road are rare for NBA players, so Dwyane Wade wanted to clown around at Friday morning’s shootaround as long as he could.
For his first trick shot, Wade walked about 12 rows up in the lower bowl of the Sacramento Kings’ outdated building — they’re calling it Sleep Train Arena these days — stretched his arms and torso, and then heaved a basketball ball toward the rim. The shot was off the mark, but Wade was undeterred.
Minutes later, he was behind the basket and beyond the baseline. It was a difficult angle to the rim. Basically a moon shot over the backboard was the only way the ball had a chance of finding its mark. Wade nailed it, of course, because Wade, who has had plenty of days off this season to rest his legs and knees, has been in the habit of making most of his shots recently. In the seven games Wade has played in December, he is shooting 57.4 percent and averaging 23.1 points per game.
After a 23-point effort against the Lakers on Christmas, Wade sat out Friday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings to rest up for Saturday’s marquee matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.
In addition to Wade sitting out, Chris Andersen and Ray Allen also did not play against the Kings. The Heat listed Andersen’s injury as “back tightness” and Allen’s ailment as “general soreness.”
Andersen and Allen are questionable against Portland, but Wade is expected to start and is well rested after taking three days off between games. He has missed eight games in the Heat’s proactive approach toward keeping its star shooting guard healthy for the playoffs.
Wade had a noninvasive but still aggressive procedure performed on his knee this summer and one of the symptoms of that OssaTron shockwave treatment has been tendinitis after physical activity. Wade has played in one back-to-back this season, and it didn’t go well.
After going 7 of 14 from the field against the Mavericks on Nov. 15, Wade played on Nov. 16 against Charlotte and went 1 of 7. He checked out of the game early and then sat out the Heat’s next two games.
After the game in Charlotte, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team realized “we would really have to be disciplined to evaluating him every single day.”
“Coming off that back-to-back with the Charlotte game, physically he didn’t feel right and he just wanted to play through it and that’s when we decided we would take the decision-making out of his hands,” Spoelstra said. “He would be a part of it, but ultimately he’s not making the decision.”
Ever since then, the Heat has been more cautious and the prescribed rest has paid off.
Since that ill fated back-to-back, Wade has played in 12 games and scored at least 20 points in nine of them. Friday marked the fifth game of the month Wade has rested, and he could also sit out the game against Denver on Monday.
“There are a lot of things that are factoring into it, but we wanted him not just healthy — everyone assumes that we just want him healthy for the playoff run,” Spoelstra said.