The chemistry was a bit off tonight for the Miami Heat as they struggled with a team they trampled only a few days ago. The American Airlines Arena welcomed back Dwyane Wade, who missed the previous two games due to sore knees. It was clear Miami wasn’t ready Wade’s return as they had played rather well, beating the Atlanta Hawks and stomping the Orlando Magic, 120-92. It was like they did not miss “Flash” at all and it took some time for everyone to mesh.
The Heat faced the Magic for a second-straight game and had to overcome a slow first half, but thanks to a late field goal from LeBron James and a strong game from Wade, the champs escaped with a 101-99 victory. Rest seemed to be the right medicine for Wade as he returned with a strong 27 points on 9-16 shooting and was the high man for the Heat. James chimed in with 22 points and the game winner.
The victory over the Magic in Wade’s return prompts the question: should Erik Spoelstra schedule rest days for Wade? Obviously the extra time off was a big help for Wade and his knees, but there is a fine line between occasional rest and missing too much. Miami was somewhat out of sync and it can only be blamed on Wade’s absence.
There is no question that Wade will need intermittent rest as the season progresses, but how do the champs keep the chemistry between Wade and everyone else? They had grown a bit used to the reserves and their contributions. However, Wade’s return left James Jones benched and Michael Beasley with limited minutes. Both had been playing well, including Jones’ 17-point outing against Orlando, Wednesday night.
Wade’s knees will continue to be a storyline for the Heat all season, but the new question is how Spoelstra will balance Wade’s rest and team chemistry. There are and will be some tough decisions to make this NBA season in South Beach, and the majority of them rest on Spoelstra’s shoulders.