M.B.K. — three simple letters for three simple words. The same words that Udonis Haslem was thinking when he rocked Tyler Hansbrough in last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals — it was protect your brother at any cost, and that’s what the Miami Heat are doing right now with Dwyane Wade.
“Any time you have a guy not 100 percent, you have to give more effort,” said Chris Bosh (via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel). “Dwyane’s having a tough time getting in the flow of the game, and when you see that you have to step up to the plate.”
The entire team has been stepping up. Bosh has become LeBron James’ wingman. Coach Erik Spoelstra has defended him and Mike Miller jumped in when he couldn’t go, even though Wade has had a relatively healthy season.
But lately, that’s been the curious case of D-Wade. Unlike Benjamin Button, he doesn’t seem to be getting younger or getting better — health wise.
Although the 2013 season has been one of his healthiest in years, his playoff performances have been rocky thus far. There have been a few good rebound games and a few big assist games. Sadly, they’ve been followed by some games that make you forget he was on the court.
Fans wondered if it was the bone bruises in his knee or his willingness to take a step back?
There’s absolutely no doubt that Wade is hurting, which makes it all the more possible that he’s reprising his role as the backseat superstar — the same role that he played when took less money to bring James and Bosh to South Beach, and the same one he played when he passed the baton to LeBron.
It’s that genuine unselfishness that would allow Wade not to force the issue against teams (Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls) that television critics are now noticing he’s struggled against for years. But, he’s determined not to break his promise of never being booted early from the playoffs again.
So when he only takes one shot in a first half or scores no more than 10 points, you can assume that he expects a win on the score box. We can expect him to be like his first nickname, and put that “S” on his chest when it’s needed.
“He won’t tell us what he’s going through,” forward Haslem said (via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel). “He won’t make excuses but we know he’s not feeling great. He’s out there and still one of the best players in this league … He’ll come around. He’s my brother. I know he’ll get better. When we need him the most, he’ll be there.”
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.