The Miami Heat lost in dramatic fashion to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, proving to some that the Heat are not as bulletproof as many thought. Playing against a potential bottom-dwelling Eastern Conference team, the Heat elected to have Dwyane Wade sit for the entire game due to soreness in knees from playing against the Chicago Bulls the night before.
Although the outcome of the game wasn’t in the Heat’s favor, the choice to rest Wade was the best possible decision for the Heat in terms of their playoff success.
Retaining the no. 1 seed throughout the playoffs is important, but having your second-best player performing at his physical peak is even more vital. The Heat barely escaped both the conference and NBA Finals last season due to Wade being very injured throughout the playoffs and not being able to contribute on both ends of the floor consistently.
This year, both Erik Spoelstra and the Heat’s training staff have made it a priority to monitor Wade’s minutes, which will result in the veteran guard having healthier knees throughout the course of the regular season and especially the playoffs.
Wade shouldn’t participate in many back-to-back games this season, and although it was unfortunate that the Heat lost last night, this was a great chance for the Heat to put their maintenance program in place for him. The Heat might not clinch the top seed in their conference this year, but having a healthy Wade will be more than enough to make up for it.