Wade's shooting is out of this world
Dwayne Wade has been playing like a machine. In four games against
Detroit in the East Finals of the 2006 NBA Playoffs, Wade has played with cold fusion-esque efficiency,
shooting a ridiculous 70% from the field while averaging 30.8 points per game
against one of the best defensive teams in the league.
It's almost as if Wade is playing the basketball equivalent
of "Moneyball," which preached that the key to success in baseball is for
hitters to get on base by taking a lot of pitches and only swinging at strikes
that they have a high-percentage of making contact with. Similarly, Wade has
shot selectively (averaging less than 15 shots a game) and proficiently
(making 10 field goals a game), which should earn him the title "Greek God of
How has he done it? By taking it to the rack. Wade, the best in the
league at driving to the hoop and creating space for himself (save Manu
Ginobili), is blowing by the Pistons' weaker perimeter defenders to find the
lane more or less barren because the Wallaces are tied up with Shaq. Aiding
him is the fact that he has the option of dishing it to one of Miami's myriad
offensive options if he gets doubled in the lane.
Wade has been driving to the hoop on a consistent basis: He has
attempted only four three-pointers in the series, and according to CBS
SportsLine's online shot charts, the majority of Wade's made field goals (23
of 41) have come from inside the paint. It seems as if he realized this
weakness in the Detroit defense in Game 1, because after going 7-9 from the
line, he's driven to the hoop and gotten fouled more often. Wade's number of
made free throws increased each game of the series, culminating with a 15-19
effort at the line in Game 4 on his way to a 31-point night. You can expect
Wade to attack the basket even more in Game 5 until the Pistons come up with a
scheme to stop him-which might include sticking the long-armed Tayshaun Prince
on Wade to keep him out of the paint.
The most stunning part of Wade's performance against the Pistons is
how few shots he has taken-in Games 1 and 4 he took just 11 shots, making 9
and 8 field goals, respectively. And the less Wade shoots, the better Miami
plays. Their only loss was in Game 2, when Wade took 20 shots-his highest
total of the series.
Not surprisingly, Wade is making a run at history. If the Heat win on
Wednesday, Wade will have a legitimate chance to challenge James Worthy's
record for field percentage in a five-game playoff series. Worthy shot 72% in
the 1985 West Finals against the Denver Nuggets.
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