The grandmaster formerly known as Flash delivered a message in Monday night’s 102-96 Heat win over Detroit: He might be heading for the autumn of his basketball years, but he can still burn summer hot.
The picture that summarized Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s 30-point, 10-rebound night and displayed his obvious feelings about it came with 4:11 left in the game. Wade popped a three-pointer from the corner near the Detroit bench and, as the shot dropped, stood with the right arm still raised like a pole, wrist cocked. Wade broke the extremely confident pose only to throw a quick look nearby at Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks.
And, oh, yeah, the shot gave the Heat a 98-85 lead and let them coast to the finish.
“My teammates did a good job of keeping me involved early on,” Wade said. “The coaches got me a solid package where I could be aggressive.”
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Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “The only knock was on me. I ended up playing him 37 minutes (37:09 to be exact).
I would’ve liked to have kept that a little down. I just couldn’t take him out in the fourth. He was in a great rhythm.”
Monday might actually be the second of a two-part message, the first part coming out Saturday in New York. Wade hit 10 of 15 in a 22-point performance against the Knicks.
Since returning to the starting lineup after being sat out four games, then coming off the bench in the win against San Antonio, Wade’s shot 30 of 46 (65.2 percent) from the field.
“There wasn’t any sense or need to panic off that road trip,” Spoelstra said. “We felt we made the right decision. We knew it would be highly debated. We wanted to get back on the routine. We’ll figure out how to maintain it on this road trip. But he’s been able to work out, strength train and get a lot of court work. All that work has been paying off.”
Meanwhile, one of the rebounds Wade grabbed and one of guard Ray Allen’s four could’ve as easily wound up in the hands of the Heat’s LeBron James. Those two rebounds, plus James’ 24 points plus his 11 assists would’ve given him his first triple double of the season.
“He’s working on the all-time record for just missed triple doubles,” Spoelstra joked.
Off the bench in the second and third quarter came 7-0 Greg Oden for a total of 11 minutes. That’s when the Heat built a small cushion as Oden helped neutralize the size advantage of Detroit’s Promethean front line of 6-10 Andre Drummond, 6-11 Greg Monroe and 6-9 Josh Smith.
Though Oden scored only four points and grabbed only three rebounds, Spoelstra said, “You could see his impact just in terms of size, extra possessions, the physicality on the glass on both ends.
“This is an extremely big, physical, athletic team,” Spoelstra said. “They play volleyball up there above the rim. A lot of those opportunities are elbows and shoulders above the crowd. But not in Greg’s case.”
Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks said, “They ended up geeting rebounds and second shcnace shots that resulted in some three-point shots for them.”
The Heat committed 20 turnovers to the Pistons 21, prompting Spoelstra to opine the home team played hard, but not always smart.