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Last night Wade needed only 19 shots to score 34 points. That total could have been closer to 40 if Wade hadn’t missed seven free throws, but what was more telling than the amount of points he scored was that he managed to shoot 15 free throws and attempted 14 field goals within 15 feet of the hoop.
The Celtics defense hardly ever gets punctured for so many points in the paint, so how did Wade do so much damage? Certainly he had his share of individual heroics, but the Heat also did a fantastic job as a team of creating opportunities for Flash to exploit his marked advantage in foot speed.
After spending most of his career as the Heat’s de facto point guard, Wade has developed into the perhaps the most devastating cutter in the league.
In this series, the Heat took advantage of Boston’s propensity to overload the strong-side of the court with defenders by stashing Wade in a corner, then unleashing him into space by setting simple curl screen. Long, fast strides and broad shoulders give Wade a distinct advantage on these actions, but he and the Heat have also improved the timing and execution of these cuts.