Dwyane Wade's job isn't easy.
But it didn't.
Heading into Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers, Wade was averaging 14.5 points and 4.8 assists for the series on 44.7 percent shooting. Those numbers are down significantly from his regular season averages of 21.2 points and 5.1 assists and 52 percent shooting. In a potentially series-clinching Game 6, he went just 3-of-11 from the field for 10 points, playing just three minutes in a pivotal fourth quarter.
Then came Game 7.
In conjunction with LeBron James' 32-point, eight-rebound and four-assist performance, Wade posted 21 points and nine rebounds of his own. He also committed five turnovers and dropped just one assist. That didn't matter. Playing like himself again, or close to it—that's what mattered.
“I'm going to play through the pain because this is my job,” he said following his first 20-point outing in over a month, via Michael Wallace of ESPN.com.
His pain isn't suddenly going to vanish. The 10-year veteran knows this. He's going to have to play through it, like he has for the entire postseason. That's his reality.
Can we expect more close-to-vintage showcases like that of Game 7? Or will his knee continue to get the best of him, like it has for the majority of the playoffs?
"I'll find a way. I'll figure it out," Wade explained. "Someway, somehow, if you give me enough time, I'll figure it out.”
James and the Heat have afforded Wade enough time to get going in these playoffs, but he's yet to deliver on that promise consistently.
Game 7 isn't enough. With Game 6 still fresh in Miami's collective memory, one night's worth of success isn't going to cut it. The Heat need more. They need what they got in Game 7, and then some.
“It was Game 7,” Pacers center Roy Hibbert said of Wade. “He turned it on.”
All of South Beach is left hoping he never turns it off.