The Miami Heat are 5-4 on the season through their first nine games. Not many people expected the Heat to be this close to .500 at any point of the season.
However, after losing to the Boston Celtics (112-107) for the second time this season that's where Miami currently stands. Big things were expected from this Heat team, some people were even predicting them to out-win the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team who won an NBA-record 72 games.
"We're the best 5-4 team in the NBA," Dwayne Wade said in the postgame press conference after the loss to the Celtics.
In last night's game Dwayne Wade scored a season-low eight points on 2-12 shooting. In the Heat's two meetings against the Celtics Wade has averaged 10.5 PPG on 21.4 FG percentage.
In the Heat's four losses this season Wade has had plus/minus scores of minus-18, minus-seven, zero and minus-17. That's an average of minus-10.5. But, in Miami's five wins Wade has had plus/minus scores of plus-nine, plus-32, plus-19, plus-12 and plus-15. That's an average of plus-17.4.
Needless to say when Wade is good so are the Heat.
When Wade is in rhythm, knocking down outside jump shots and attacking the rim he is one of the toughest players to guard in the NBA.
Against teams not from Boston, Wade is averaging 27.9 PPG on 52.5 FG percentage.
Though, it's still early in the season, and technically the Heat can still outdo the '95-'96 Bulls (but it is highly unlikely that they lose less than six games the rest of the year).
Dwayne Wade is not by any means the lone problem that Miami has faced so far this season, but it is not coincidental that Wade has come up big for the Heat in the games they have won this season and been relatively quiet (excluding the loss to the Utah Jazz, which Miami let slip away) in the Heat's losses.
Wade is one of the bigger stars in the league and has another playing alongside him in LeBron James, if these two can find cohesion like they had against the New Jersey Nets last Saturday then Miami could very well become the team many expected them to be from day one.
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