|ESPN.com: NBA Playoffs 2013||[Print without images]|
INDIANAPOLIS -- Dwyane Wade thinks he knows what is causing his Miami Heat team to become a shell of itself against the Indiana Pacers. And it is not his bad knee or Chris Bosh's sore ankle.
After the Pacers' 91-77 Game 6 victory Saturday night, Wade said he feels he and Bosh are having their touches and shots cut and it's hurting the team.
"We've got to do a good job of making sure me and Chris have our opportunities to succeed throughout the game," Wade said. "That's something we're going to have to look at as a team."
Here is what Wade is talking about: He averaged 15 shots and 16.8 points over the first four games of the Eastern Conference finals. He has gotten a total of 19 shots and scored a total of 20 points in the past two games. Wade was 3 of 11 for 10 points in Game 6.
Bosh averaged 16.3 points on 11 shots in the series' first three games. In the three games since, he's averaging just 6.3 points on seven shots a game. Bosh was 1-of-8 shooting for just five points in Saturday's loss. It's the first time since Bosh's rookie season in 2004 he's had three consecutive games where he's failed to score 10 points.
Meanwhile, LeBron James' shots are up and his efficiency is down. In the first four games of the series, James averaged 19.8 shots and 28 points. In the past two games, James has averaged 24 shots and 29.5 points.
Wade implied James is trying to do too much.
We've got to do a good job of making sure me and Chris have our opportunities to succeed throughout the game.” -- Dwyane Wade
"We've got guys individually who want to play better," Wade said. "But we've got to try to help each other out in this locker room and not leave it up to the individual to self-will it."
Following the game, James tried to explain this shift in strategy.
"I mean, we can state the obvious; they're both struggling," James said of Wade and Bosh. "When you're struggling, the best thing to get is a layup or a dunk. [Wade] missed a couple of them ... Chris is struggling with his shot and him hurting his ankle didn't help."
James said he will look at film before Game 7 on Monday to see where he might be able to help Wade and Bosh.
Wade has been passively referring to his dwindling role in the Heat's offense for some time. Prior to Game 6, Wade blamed his struggles earlier in the series on not being a bigger part of the offense.
"I get a little more rhythm defensively, I get to defend every play," Wade said. "Offensively, I don't get the ball every play. So it comes a little different. You know, the rhythm is a little different."
Fighting a right knee bone bruise, Wade is shooting 44 percent from the field and 67 percent from the foul line against the Pacers. Both are significant drops from the regular season. He's averaging a career-low 13.6 points in the playoffs.
"I'm really disappointed in myself," Bosh said. "It's not been going my way this whole series. I want to play better. I will play better. I have to play better in Game 7. It's as simple as that."