In the fourth quarter of Game 2 between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers, a loose ball caused a collision between two important players from both sides. Dwyane Wade‘s knee made contact with Paul George‘s head two times and afterwards George said that he momentarily blacked out from the incident. After conducting an NBA-mandated concussion test on the bench, the Pacers’ staff deemed him concussion-free at the time so he headed back onto the court to finish the game.
Watching the play live I thought nothing of it; it just looked like two guys who desperately wanted to win and the contact was just part of the game. However, after watching the replay over and over it doesn’t seem so innocent after all. Not only does it seem that Wade could have controlled his motion better to avoid making contact with George on two occasions, but his track record also rules out giving him the benefit of the doubt.
In 2012 Wade was suspended for one game after kicking Ramon Sessions in the groin. A few years ago in the playoffs against the Pacers, Wade blindsided then-Pacers point guard Darren Collison on a fast break after not getting a foul call only moments earlier. These are only just a few such incidents throughout Wade’s career; he also broke Kobe Bryant‘s nose in an All-Star Game and got a flagrant foul against Boston in the playoffs after he was legally screened by Kevin Garnett.
Wade responds to what is happening like most players do, but he has taken it to an extreme too many times. George was in the process of stealing the ball from him and it may have upset him. There is just no need for that in this game and it needs to exposed.
Thursday on the Dan Dakich show on 1070 AM (ESPN Radio in Indianapolis), Sage Steele of NBA countdown on ESPN was interviewed and asked for her opinion on the play. She did not jump around the question but answered honestly by saying she agreed with Dakich: the play was absolutely intentional by Wade. She proceeded to say that there “is something different [between] being super uber physical and being dirty.”
Everyone is going to have their own opinions on what actually transpired during this play, but there is no denying that it was a game-changer. George showed great toughness by staying in the game, but you could tell he just wasn’t the same after he had been hit.
It would be a shame if this results in George having to miss Game 3 of the series as that could end up being detrimental to the Pacers’ chances of advancing. One thing is for certain, though: Wade will be closely watched by many now as his dirty tactics can only stay hidden for so long.