In the final game of the Heat-Bulls series, Dwyane Wade played 37 minutes and shot 7 for 13 on sore knees that have plagued him throughout the second half of the season.
During the game, he went to the locker room gimpy and then came back a different player. Whatever happened in that locker room worked. It will not be the last time Miami trainers will be tested. They really have to keep him healthy for the long haul.
LeBron James has protected Wade consistently over the last three years. He didn't waver after the clinching win against Chicago and said Flash is a tremendous player who plays big when needed in crunch time.
I agree with LeBron on Wade's greatness. But even James has to be worried about the fragile nature of those expensive knees. Will he be able to withstand physical defenders like Lance Stephenson, Iman Shumpert or Tony Allen?
I have been somewhat hard on Wade over the last few seasons in regards to his fragility. I suspect he will have some nights left in these playoffs that render him mortal because his knee is sore.
The Heat will not win a championship if he continues to struggle. They are getting ready to face some physical teams that will focus in on James to force him to become a passer. Can Wade and company deliver when they get the ball from LeBron constantly?
Even though the Heat struggled against the Knicks this season, my guess is they'd rather play them and not Indiana in the conference finals. The Pacers effectively are shutting off the lanes with Roy Hibbert and David West, but also have two excellent perimeter defenders in Paul George and Stephenson.
In the West, the Grizzlies would be a nightmare because the Heat can't match up with Zach Randolph or Marc Gasol.
Wade has to take great pressure off of James and Chris Bosh on both ends of the floor for Miami to win. That's why it's imperative he stays healthy enough.
Ultimately, I think he will. The Heat are on a mission and I will never count them out or bet against the spectacular talent of James or the mercurial transformations of a player that limped into the locker room and reemerged a few minutes later in super human form.