Hours before Thursday’s preseason game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he planned to play Dwyane Wade to the point of fatigue.
It took a while.
Playing his best game since returning from offseason knee surgery, Wade scored a game-high 21 points in the Heat’s 105-78 blowout victory of the young Detroit Pistons. It was the Heat’s first home game since winning last season’s NBA championship at American-Airlines Arena and Wade put on a show, shooting 9 of 13 from the field to go along with three rebounds and five assists.
“I kind of told LeBron [James] before the game that I was going to try to go a little bit,” Wade said. “As I continue to play, I need to get my legs under me, my rhythm and my conditioning. I kind of broke out some of the things I normally do and I felt comfortable doing it.”
Wade had knee surgery in April and has been easing himself into form during training camp. He missed the first preseason game against the Hawks and looked somewhat hesitant in Miami’s two games in China. Against Detroit, Wade took his foot of the cautionary brakes and floored it downhill.
“The procedure he had this summer and the work he has put in is really about recapturing a lot of that speed and quickness that he didn’t have at the end of the season last year,” Spoelstra said.
Wade had 15 points in the first half, leading the Heat on an impressive run from the opening tip. It was a near-perfect 24 minutes for the team, which appeared ready for the regular season at the halftime buzzer. Miami led 61-34 at that point.
But the Heat was just getting started. Miami’s Big 3 combined for 51 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists and five steals in the first three quarters. Together, Wade, James and Chris Bosh were 19 of 31 from the floor.
James finished with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He had four rebounds and a preseason-high eight assists. Bosh had 17 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
Ray Allen made his preseason home debut with 5:38 left in the first quarter. He entered the game for Shane Battier, giving the Heat three guards on the court in its first rotation. Wade and point guard Norris Cole started the game along with Battier, James and Bosh. Allen finished with seven points, going 3 of 11 from the field and 1 of 5 from three-point range.
Battier and Mike Miller were 2 of 4 from three-point range for six points. Thursday was Miller’s first action since the first game of the preseason.
Rashard Lewis had seven points in 20 minutes.
“It’s good to be back,” Spoelstra said of Miami’s first game since returning from China. “Our guys were looking forward to this game.”
Mario Chalmers (quadriceps), Joel Anthony (hamstring), Udonis Haslem (quadriceps), Jarvis Vanardo (hamstring) and Rodney Carney (flu-like symptoms) did not play for the Heat. … Before the game, James and Wade joked about a story on ESPN.com that suggested James might consider opting out of his contract in two years and playing for the Lakers. After the game, Wade said, “They can go ahead and leave my teammate alone. He’s staying here.”