Among the most surprising developments of the playoffs: Dwyane Wade’s sudden excellence on three-pointers.
After shooting 7 for 44 on threes during the regular season, Wade is now 8 of 11 in the playoffs, including a 4-for-6 performance in Game 3.
Wade missed his first three this postseason, then made seven in a row (including his first three on Saturday). Before these playoffs, Wade never had hit more than five threes in a row in his 1,016-game career. Wade’s 44 three-point attempts this season were the second-fewest of his career and came a year after he attempted 102 (and made 29).
For his career, Wade is a 28.4 percent shooter on threes during the regular season. But he was a 33.5 percent three-point shooter in his postseason career entering Saturday. He was 9 for 24 on threes during the 2014 playoffs, LeBron James’ last season with the team.
In Game 3, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra used five backups who went parts of the season completely out of the rotation. But he did not use the one reserve who was in the rotation all season: Justise Winslow.
Winslow said he didn’t know this would happen and that he hadn’t discussed it with Spoelstra. Winslow’s impact had been modest in the first two games of this second-round series, with more turnovers (four) than points (two).
Winslow has shot 40.9 percent overall this postseason (18 for 44) and just 2 for 12 on threes, with the Hornets and Raptors often leaving him open on the perimeter. Winslow has said that improving his three-point shooting from the corners is a priority.
▪ Kyle Lowry entered shooting just 30.8 percent in the postseason and having become the first player in NBA history to shoot less than 40 percent in nine consecutive playoff games (with minimum of 10 shots).
But he was exceptional in Game 3, finishing with 33 points (29 in the second half) on 11-for-19 shooting and scoring seven points in the final 2:07, including a three-pointer that broke an 82-82 tie.
▪ The Heat’s starting forwards had quiet nights offensively, with Joe Johnson missing an open three that could have tied the game with 16 seconds left. Johnson (10 points) finished 4 for 11 and is 0 for 10 on threes in the series. Luol Deng (four points) shot 2 for 6.
“It’s nothing they are doing defensively,” Johnson said. “I’ve just got to make shots.”
▪ Goran Dragic, who played so well in the first two games, shot 5 for 14 on a 12-point night, finishing with five of the Heat’s nine turnovers compared with just one assist. Dragic left with his fifth foul with six minutes left and didn’t return until 16 seconds remained. Spoelstra said he played Josh Richardson instead because he wanted “a longer defender.”
▪ The NBA said Game 5 in Toronto will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday on TNT and Game 6 in Miami, if needed, will be at 8 p.m. Friday on ESPN.