BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics want the ball out of Dwyane Wade’s hands. Perhaps the Miami Heat will give them what they want.
Wade gave a little hint about the Heat’s plan for Sunday's Game 4, saying he might have the ball less and be more active moving without it more.
The Celtics have been aggressively double-teaming Wade over the last two games and the result has been a more-passive-than-usual Wade. He didn’t get even to the foul line in Game 3, something that hadn’t happened in a playoff game since 2004.
But in the fourth quarter Friday night as the Heat tried and failed a comeback effort by resorting to an unusual small lineup, Wade got going by finding shots a different way. Instead of the ball going to him and trying to create by getting screens as he’s done is whole career, Wade instead found the ball. He was making back cuts and getting screens away from the ball, making it harder for the Celtics to devote two defenders.
“I’m just trying to figure out a way to get some opportunities different from the sets were running when I had the ball,” Wade said. “We had to change it up a little bit. I saw some things late in the game that I can bring to this game. It’s going to take some more effort overall but it’s the Eastern Conference Finals. I’ve got to be more aggressive mentally when I’m off the ball.”
These misdirection plays have always been a part of the Heat’s offense and it was even very effective at times against the Indiana Pacers in the last round. But they were definitely farther down in the playbook.
Now, however, it may become a central strategy point for the Heat as they look to counter the Celtics’ defensive plans.
Wade only had 18 points in Game 3, the first time in his last 13 playoff games against the Celtics that he didn’t crack 20 points. But in the second half, he was 6-of-11 shooting and feels like he might’ve found something that will carry over.
“I’ll figure something out,” Wade said. “I normally do.”