Wade, the Heat's superstar second-year guard, was hassled and
harangued Monday night by the Detroit Pistons, who held him to 16
points on 7-for-25 shooting in their 90-81 win over Miami in Game 1
of the Eastern Conference finals.
How did Wade assess his performance? "Terrible," he said.
Yet his confidence level remained high, and he vowed the Heat
would be sharper for Game 2 on Wednesday.
"I'll look at the film tomorrow, see what I have to do
different, see what I have to do to help my team win," Wade said.
"And I will do it. I'm not really worried about that. Good win by
Detroit to come in and get this first one, but we can play a lot
Wade was sensational in Miami's first two playoff sweeps over
New Jersey and Washington, averaging 28.6 points, 8.4 assists and
6.6 rebounds in those eight games while shooting 51.9 percent from
His magic was gone in Game 1, when he missed eight straight
shots in one stretch and never showed the dominant air he carried
in the other series. Now, the Heat -- who won 59 regular-season
games and were the East's No. 1 playoff seed -- have lost home-court
advantage to the reigning NBA champions.
"They have a good team defense, but I'm with Flash," Heat
guard Keyon Dooling said, referring to Wade by his nickname. "I
think he's going to bounce back and have a spectacular game."
Wade had decent numbers in three meetings with the Pistons: 17.7
points, 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds. But most of those stats came in
a triple-double performance -- 31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists --
in Detroit on Dec. 30, when the Heat won 89-78.
Their next regular-season meeting was much different: In Miami
on April 10, with Shaquille O'Neal sidelined by a stomach ailment,
Wade was limited to five points in 21 foul-filled minutes.
And on Monday, with the Pistons' long-armed stalwart defender
Tayshaun Prince shadowing Wade's every move and the likes of Ben
Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess swarming the basket,
he was quieted again.
"A lot of those looks that he's used to getting were a little
tougher," Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said. "They had a hand
in his face. And once he got by Tayshaun, he met our second line of
defense. Ben and Rasheed and Dyess, they just help so much. ...
We're not going to try to let him get comfortable."
Wade's eight straight misses came in the second quarter. His
only basket of that period came with 15.3 seconds left, when he
darted past Billups across the lane and made an acrobatic,
leaning-back shot to give Miami a short-lived, one-point lead.
He scored on a drive to end a 10-0 Detroit run, but the Pistons
wouldn't trail again.
Miami was behind by 14 points in the third quarter and then
rallied to tie it at 80 with 5:11 left.
The comeback, however, was in vain. With the Heat trailing
82-81, Wade missed a 20-footer from the right wing with 4:01
Miami wouldn't score again, and when it was over, all Wade could
do was bow his head slightly and saunter to the locker room.
"It's going to turn around for him," Heat guard Eddie Jones
said. "He doesn't need to worry about anything. He's going to be
back Wednesday night, stronger than ever. We don't worry about
anything. So he missed a few shots. It's OK."