Amidst all the criticism that's been heaped on Heat guard Dwayne Wade over the last 24 hours, it has been a particularly fascinating revelation to watch Chris Bosh skate completely under the media's radar after his poor showing in Game 1.
To recap, Bosh finished with 10 points (4-11) and five rebounds after 34 minutes of play. Wade, by comparison, had 19 points (7-19), eight assists and four rebounds after 42 minutes.
So why is one guy getting all of the backlash, while the other is probably walking around the locker room in a bathrobe drinking Merlot?
Here are three guesses:
1) Bosh didn't start the game, leading people to cut him a pass with the view that he is still in the process of recovery.
2) The Wade angle is the juicier story given his well-documented struggles in the Eastern Conference Finals and his declining FG% in the playoffs (FYI—it has dipped with each passing round). So, after Game 1, he made himself an easy target.
3) The consensus among the sports world is that only James and Wade are superstar talents, while Bosh is just an all-star caliber player.
It's probably a combination of guesses two and three, with guess three playing more of a role than people realize.
Now here is the real question.
Is it time to entertain the possibility that Dwayne Wade, at this point in his career, is slowly being exposed as a superstar who isn't—much in the same way Bosh was exposed during his first few months in Miami?
Because the way things are going, that block of time when Wade decimated the Indiana Pacers in the last three games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals is looking a lot more isolated and distant than ever before.
And, by all indications, it looks as though the world is going to see more of Dwayne Wade playing at an all-star level than a superstar one.
Is it Wade's health that's slowing him down? If so, it's understandable why the team wouldn't have acknowledged it. The only problem is that if this were really the case, you'd think Erik Spoelstra would have put more responsibility on Chris Bosh's shoulders instead of continuing to cut his minutes short.
Is it because of Wade's deference to James on the court? Maybe so, but how do you blame terrible shot selection on playing a secondary role? He did, after all, shoot 19 times in the last game.
Is it because Wade doesn't care as much about basketball as he does building his brand? This would at least explain his questionable attire during postgame conferences.
What is the real answer here?
As the viewing public is only left to wonder, Wade continues to minimize the problem with a smidgeon of the defiance in his voice that David Stern had for Jim Rome after being asked if the draft lottery was fixed.
In the meantime, all that is known is that if the Heat lose tonight's game, they'll be forced to be a perfect 3-3 at home or face the daunting task of winning Games 6 and 7 in Oklahoma City.
And, to be honest, I'm starting to wonder whether that defiance in Wade's voice stems from the implication that he's being accused of coasting or if it stems from the frustration that he's just not the player he once was.
Either way, things don't look promising for Miami going forward in the NBA Finals.
And possibly beyond.
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