One of the purported positives of the Dwyane Wade signing was his ability to step up in big moments and deliver when it really mattered. Wade may not always “bring it” throughout the regular season, but the playoffs would be a different beast. We saw him take it to another level in the postseason last year with the Heat, and the hope was that he’d do it again after an uneven season in Chicago.
Outside of a few stretches against the Celtics, that hasn’t happened.
Wade was key in securing the Game 2 victory in Boston. He caught fire from 3 and knocked down some dagger shots in true Father Prime fashion. He scored 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting and 3-of-4 from 3.
But in the other three games? Wade totaled 40 points on 15-of-42 shooting (35.7 percent) and 1-of-5 from 3. That’s in addition to some of the lazy defense we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the course of the season.
David Ramil, my colleague over at FanRag Sports, recently highlighted how poor Wade was overall in Game 3. And Game 4 was also no good.
Wade’s Game 4 wasn’t a total abomination if you just look at his stat line. 11 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal while shooting 5-of-12 isn’t horrible. But it sure isn’t good, especially when you consider he played 38 minutes, botched several layups and was the man assigned to Gerald Green at the start of the game.
On the very first Celtics possession, Wade flashed a bit too aggressively to the middle to help on a Al Horford drive, and then barely bothered to close out on Green. Luckily Green missed that first open triple:
The Bulls wouldn’t be so lucky after that:
Wade correctly showed some help on both of these plays, but the efforts to contest on Green weren’t there. On that second one he just let Horford box him out and gave up on the play.
Here’s another Green bucket where Wade gambled on a steal on Horford, which got Wade out of position and allowed Green a good look at a jumper over Robin Lopez:
On this one, Wade aggressively helped down on Marcus Smart in the post against the bigger Paul Zipser. While Smart had good position on Zipser, should Wade really have left Green wide open AGAIN?! I also like the late, half-hearted hand-in-the-air:
And finally, here’s one where Wade was running around like a chicken with his head cut off. He was put in a tough spot, to be fair, but it just looks bad:
The Bulls need more effort from Wade defensively. He’s had his moments, including a few really impressive blocks (he’s always been great at that), but those few highlight plays don’t make up for the other mistakes.
Offensively, the Bulls can’t have such little production given their dire point guard situation. While Jimmy Butler is the primary scorer/playmaker, Wade needs to be that consistent secondary guy with Rajon Rondo out. 11 points on 12 shots and two assists in 38 minutes just doesn’t cut it.
And it doesn’t help when he blows plays like this:
That swing effectively ended the Bulls’ comeback chances in Game 4.
If the Bulls are going to find their groove again and win this series, Dwyane Wade is going to have to be a big part of it. He needs to be better...and maybe the Bulls will actually make some adjustments:
Wade said Bulls didn't make adjustments between Gms 3, 4 because they just played low energy & didn't need new gameplan. Now they will.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 24, 2017