As the Miami Heat prepared for the first meeting with the San Antonio Spurs since defeating the Texas-based team in the 2013 NBA Finals, it was uncertain whether Dwyane Wade would miss his fifth straight game or if he would put those dreadful knees back to work. With starting lineups being called, Wade clapped in warm-ups as his name did not echo through the American Airlines Arena.
Instead, Erik Spoelstra had a different strategy for the aging star that neither Spoelstra nor Wade were accustomed to. However, that strategy seemed to work as Miami defeated San Antonio on Sunday, 113-101. Wade’s role in the victory was as a reserve, a role player coming off the bench to support LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Wade still posted 24 minutes, but he only had eight points and five assists, hardly numbers we are use to seeing from D-Wade.
His offensive production wasn’t exactly there, but that’s expected after missing a stretch of games. I’d rather talk about the reserve role that Spoelstra put Wade in.
How can I put this nicely? It was genius!
It is no secret that Wade’s knees are the biggest problem facing him and the Heat organization right now. No one, including Wade himself, has any idea if his knees will ever get any better or if they will only continue to deteriorate. I think that Spoelstra should continue to bring Wade off the bench until at least the All-Star break in order to limit his minutes and better manage his knees.
The win over the Spurs was a great indication that using Wade as a reserve works. The Heat will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, and I am interested to see if Spoelstra plays Wade off the bench once again. Using Wade in limited time will not only allow for extra rest, but it will also keep Wade in shape and stop the rust from accumulating. I am 100 percent sure you have heard this before, but it is most important that Wade is healthy for the playoffs. Nothing else really matters.