The Miami Heat are set to take on the Charlotte Bobcats tonight at American Airlines Arena, and this will be the first game of a back-to-back set. Dwyane Wade has been on an exceptional tear over the last five games, averaging 21.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game on a ridiculous 61 percent shooting clip.
With how well Wade has been playing lately, the coaching staff’s gut instinct might be to allow him to keep playing at this level for the rest of the regular season, but this is a terrible idea, and one that could hurt the Heat’s chances of winning a third straight title this season.
Although Wade has been playing exceptionally, the fact that we are still 25 games away from finishing the regular season should be enough for the training and coaching staff to elect to sit him.
It was around this time last season, when the Heat were in the midst of their 27-game winning streak, that Wade was on a very similar tear. A simple knee bump during a Boston Celtics game in the middle of that winning streak changed everything. Not only did Wade miss nine of the last 14 game of the regular season, but he was largely ineffective through key stretches of the playoffs, most notably against the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs.
At the beginning of the season, the Heat’s training staff made in clear what their goal was for Wade: to keep the veteran shooting guard as healthy as possible heading into the playoffs. As much as the Heat’s chances rely on LeBron James playing well, the same reliance will be needed from Wade in the playoffs.
In order to succeed in this goal, the Heat have to remain diligent in preserving Wade for the rest of the season. That means sitting out games in back-to-back sets. There is just no getting around. Look for Wade to either sit against the Bobcats tonight or the Houston Rockets the following night.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat columinst for RantSports.com.
Follow him on Twitter @outofboundsjay, “Like” him on