Heat vs. Thunder Game 2: Dwyane Wade Will Lead Miami to Victory

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Heat vs. Thunder Game 2: Dwyane Wade Will Lead Miami to Victory
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For once, it wasn't LeBron James who drew the heat after Miami suffered a Game 1 loss at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder to open the 2012 NBA Finals

Dwyane Wade was the scapegoat and for good reason. Now, it's Wade who will rebound and help the Heat even up the series at one game apiece. 

For all the struggles that he's had in the postseason, Wade still remains one of the elite shooting guards in the NBA. In fact, he's still one of the elite players, regardless of position. He just has to start playing like it again. 

Wade's jumper hasn't been falling for the most part because he's been settling for shots that are incredibly difficult. Far too often he's proving to be content with attempting the falling-back, off-one-foot, hand-in-his-face, bank-off-the-glass shot instead of driving to the rim and making an effort to draw contact. 

The Heat as a whole settled for way too many long-range jump shots in the second half of Game 1, and that was the primary reason that their offense ground to a halt and allowed the Thunder to blast past them en route to a series-opening victory. While many were to blame for the passive nature of the half-court offense, Wade was the primary culprit.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Despite his struggles, the shooting guard and second-best player on the roster still managed to put together a fairly solid line, assuming that we can ignore his putrid 7-of-19 performance from the field. When the final buzzer sounded and put the Heat out of their collective fourth-quarter misery, Wade had totaled 19 points, four rebounds, eight assists and a steal. 

He'd still managed to make a positive impact for his team to at least partially negate the damage his affinity for finding the rim instead of the net was doing. 

Fortunately for Wade, there's an easy fix for this problem: Put the ball in LeBron's hands when the easy shot isn't there and be more aggressive by driving to the rim throughout the game. 

Wade hasn't lost his status as one of the game's best slashers and he can still get to the rim seemingly at will. So now he needs to pull a Nike and just do it. 

No more passivity, but rather aggression from tip-off until that final buzzer. If that happens, the buzzer will be relieving the Thunder in Game 2. 

Wade recognizes that he needs to make this change in his mentality too: "I'll be more aggressive," he said after his disappointing Game 1 showing. 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Throughout his time in the NBA—and dating back to his days at Marquette—Wade has been one of basketball's premier players when it comes to showing up when the going gets toughest. He lives for the big moments and typically thrives in them. 

I have no idea whether or not Wade is the kind of player who likes to get on the Internet and read anything and everything that people are saying about him. I don't know if he gets the newspaper in the morning and reads the sports columns. 

Whether he does or not, he knows how much he's been picked apart over the last 48 hours, seeing as the negativity has been way too omnipresent to be avoided. 

Wade is mentally tough enough that he will rebound in Game 2, and I'm not referring to the crashing the boards type of rebounding. Across the board, you can expect a 2006 throwback kind of performance from the shooting guard.

Aggression is what Wade and the Heat need and they'll get lots of it Thursday night when Game 2 tips off.  

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