Why Dwyane Wade Deserves More Blame Than LeBron James for Miami Heat's Struggles
It was the first NBA Finals game in Thunder franchise history and it also just happened to be at home.
What's more concerning is the way Miami lost the game. They lost the game with a lackadaisical second-half performance, but more importantly, they lost because of another terrible first-half performance by Dwyane Wade.
While the Heat were up seven at the half, the fact that Wade had scored just six points in the first half was very bad news for the Heat.
Like Wade had done throughout the entirety of the Eastern Conference finals, he came out in the first half like he wasn't prepared to play. Luckily for Wade, LeBron James and Shane Battier picked up the slack for him, but his lack of production hurt the Heat in the second half.
The Heat were outscored 56 to 40 in the second half, which was in large part due to the Thunder's ability to finally get into transition.
OKC was finally able to get into their offensive groove because the Heat stopped moving the ball with the same kind of urgency in the first half.
Why did they do that?
The answer can be found midway through the third quarter when LeBron went to the bench. Wade took over the reigns of the offense, and things quickly went south as he started taking shots early in the shot clock and rushing the Heat's offensive pace.
The way that Wade handled the offense and the pacing of the game during the third quarter was a major reason why the Thunder were able to get back into the game and ultimately come away with the win.
Wade's impatient approach on the offensive side of the ball in the second half was directly related to his lack of success in the first half, and it certainly impacted all of the players around him—including LeBron James.
In the first half, LeBron had 14 points on 45.4 percent shooting, and he did that by aggressively getting into the paint to create high-percentage shots for himself or open opportunities for his teammates.
In the second half, thanks to Wade's overly aggressive play, LeBron resorted to taking mid-to-long range jumpers that not only hurt his efficiency, but also prevented him from being able to create high-percentage shots for the guys around him.
Wade certainly isn't solely to blame for the Heat's struggles on Tuesday night, but his play is certainly at the foundation of the loss.
If the Heat want to beat the Thunder in Game 2 on Thursday night, Wade will have to show up to play in the first half of the game, which is something he hasn't been doing that much as of late.
If Wade is struggling in Game 2, he needs to be the player drawing the defense's attention in the corner of the court as LeBron tries to attack the paint—not the other way around.
The Heat can certainly rebound and beat the Thunder in OKC on Thursday night, but they won't be able to do it if Wade decides to only play for 24 minutes of the game.
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