- Tom Haberstroh, ESPN Staff Writer
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There’s nothing quite like a 22-point second half to erase a nightmare performance in the first half. Such was the case for Dwyane Wade in his metamorphosis on Monday night.
Maybe the hangnail healed. Maybe Erik Spoelstra performed a magical halftime speech. Maybe Wade just had enough with the talk about his shooting woes.
Whatever it was, it worked. Wade’s horrific first half featured a litany of careless mistakes and ugly shot attempts that repeatedly hushed the AmericanAirlines Arena crowd -- which, admittedly, is not that hard to do.
Wade missed 6-of-7 shot attempts in the first half with 4 points, but he just as easily could have scored a dozen more points if he wasn’t under some phantom spell. After halftime? He exploded for 22 points on 7-for-9 shots in the second half.
But leave it to the highlight reels to showcase Wade’s second half. Here, we’d like to offer a complementary reel of lowlights that puzzled Heat fans for the first 24 minutes of Monday night’s game.
I hereby present Wade’s eight gaffes of the first half:
Gaffe 1. On this possession, Wade took advantage of a dozing Gilbert Arenas, beating him baseline off the dribble. Hilton Armstrong then rotates off of Zydrunas Ilgauskas to contest the shot, inviting Wade to do his best Blake-Griffin-on-Timofey-Mozgov impression -- only to ultimately miss the “dunk” throw-in. He falls.
Gaffe 2. This clip begins with Wade grimacing from what was reported to be a hangnail. Seconds later, Andray Blache passes it directly into Wade’s lap before he fumbles it out of bounds. If Blache were a heady passer, he would have faked the swing pass and hit Arenas backdoor to trap Wade's gamble. But instead, Wade saves him the embarrassment by bringing it onto himself.
Gaffe 3. Here, Wade ends up with the steal after Nick Young takes his eye off the ball and misses the pass from Arenas. Wade fumbles it initially but successfully dishes it out to Carlos Arroyo on the break. After JaVale McGee pancakes Wade to the floor, McGee leaves Wade to sneak in behind and receive a bullet pass from LeBron James. McGee bites on Wade’s pump fake but Wade misses a bunny on the other side of the rim. It looked like a gift-wrapped dunk opportunity but Wade didn’t get high enough to throw it down. Oddly enough, the miss resembled Joel Anthony’s gem against Phoenix.
Gaffe 4. This miscue had the makings of a classic Wade transition layup but he gets too fancy on the break trying to pull the ball over Young’s head and consequently loses control of the ball. Wade gets the assist after a trailing James Jones bails him out with a 3, but it could easily have been a traveling or palming violation. Wade skirts a turnover.
Gaffe 5. Here, it’s Young whom Wade catches snoozing and makes a sharp cut through the paint. But McGee does an excellent job of stopping Wade, forcing a back-breaking fade-away jumper – one that should have probably been bagged in the first place. Erick Dampier was wide open for an dump pass initially and again after he closes out the undersized Young under the rim. It looked like an airball but McGee gets a well-deserved block for the effort.
Gaffe 6. Once again in transition, Wade fails to finish on the break. This time, he freezes Young in the paint and misses a clear layup off the glass. High school coaches everywhere scowl as he takes a right-handed layup on the left-side of the hoop. Wade then makes an appeal to the referee for a late whistle, all while spinning in a circle, no less.
Gaffe 7. And yet another transition snafu from Wade as he failed to recognize Trevor Booker timing the jump to slam the layup against the glass. To make things worse, James Jones was wide open in the corner as he watched the ill-advised basket attack unfold. Bosh rescues Wade with an offensive rebound in the midst of the entire Wizards lineup and gets to the line.
Gaffe 8. This particular clip could be seen as a poor entry pass from Arroyo but Wade does a few things that warrants the lowlight. For one, he fails to meet the ball on the entry pass and instead prematurely pivots away from the pass to make his move. Secondly, he asks for the post-up entry pass but barely muscles up Arenas which allows the Wizard to get a clear path to the bounce pass. And lastly, and most inexcusably, Wade turns to complain to the referee behind him rather than following Hinrich down the court.