The combination of Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic is enough to beat the Brooklyn Nets 104-98, but it might not be sufficient to keep the Miami Heat among the eight teams going to the NBA playoffs considering how difficult the competition is for that final spot.
Dwyane Wade carried on with his transcendent form, scoring 28 points and make it a season sweep over the Nets for the Heat, improving to 29-35 this season. It pushed the Nets back as they attempt to make it into the playoffs (although they won’t be too disappointed if they’re left out), but the Heat are still 8th in the conference, barely leading the Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics.
Wade scored more than 25 points for a fourth consecutive game, the first time he’s had such a streak since 2012. Playing as the number one scorer for the Heat obviously gives him more opportunities to show he’s far from washed up, even if it’s slightly slower and crankier than the younger, more successful version. Let’s not forget he has to perform this finish without Chris Bosh, who won’t be back on the basketball court before August-September.
Goran Dragic is here for that. Not having Hassan Whiteside as well, out with a suspension, the Heat played with three guards (Henry Walker as well) while Luol Deng and Chris Andersen played the “bigs” role. The Heat aren’t exactly new to the concept of small ball, but Erik Spoelstra has undoubtedly been going through his most difficult coaching job because of how plans have changed along with the personnel since this season began.
Dragic scored 17 points and added 9 assists. Chris Andersen enjoyed the fact that Brook Lopez and Thad Young don’t really like doing anything on defense, allowing him free strolls into the paint ,scoring 18 points on 8-of-9 from the field and grabbing 14 rebounds. The Nets played what can only be referred to as bad basketball, turning the ball over 21 times, as Deron Williams and Joe Johnson struggled against the defensive pressure the Heat applied on them.
It’s great to see Wade looking free and playing like an All-Star and not a grumpy old man with knee problems. Who knows how much time he has left at the top of the NBA world? But the Heat remain a team in serious risk and can’t afford to lose anyone else in the remaining 18 games, with five teams, including the 7th seed Indiana Pacers trying to make it into the playoffs, battling for the final two spots in the East.