Remember when Dwyane Wade was on a maintenance program because of knee issues? That story line from the 2013-14 season seems like so long ago. Wade was in his early 30s then, when mystery surrounded his status from night to night and he went on to miss a total of 28 games. Things are different now. Entering Wednesday’s game against the Spurs, a 37-year-old Wade has missed just three games due to injury or illness in his final NBA season.
Part of it is the fact that Wade realizes he doesn’t have many games left, with his NBA playing career winding down. After Wednesday’s game against the Spurs, just 11 regular-season games remain. “I’m not going to have too many more of these, obviously,” Wade said. “I’m enjoying this process, even the other night, when we were about to play Charlotte and I was banged up [because of a bruised right hip] from the Milwaukee game and I was thinking about not playing. It just came down to, ‘I don’t have many more of these.’ So I can get out there and at least try to do something and give my team something, and I was able to give them more than even I thought I would that [day]. It’s that time of the year. “
If I told 13-year-old Donovan that you’d one day be hanging out with Wade often and consider him a peer, what would your reaction have been? Also, what advice has he given you? Donovan Mitchell: I would’ve thought that you were completely lying to me, to be honest with you. (Laughs) It’s been great. With the advice he’s given me, a lot of the on-court advice has been more technical stuff like improving my footwork, slowing down, getting to the free-throw line, using fakes and things like that, which have definitely helped me throughout this year. It took me a while to fully grasp what he was talking about this year, but I think I’m starting to get a lot of it now and use what he told me. As far as off-court advice, he’s been so successful in life. I’m trying to understand how to be a businessman. I’m 22 years old, but I’m partnered with BodyArmor and adidas and all of these different brands, so you have to understand how to be a businessman on top of just being an athlete. He’s helped with that. I’ve just enjoyed the experiences we’ve had together. He and I connected a while back and we’ve met up several times, and we talk all the time.
It’s safe to say it. The sample size is big enough now. March is just the Heat’s month. After Monday’s impressive road win against the Thunder, the Heat moved to 7-2 in March this season. Miami’s only losses this month have come against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, Toronto and Milwaukee. But zoom out to examine the entirety of Erik Spoelstra’s 11-season tenure as the Heat’s head coach, and winning in March has become a trend. Miami has posted an eye-opening 111-59 record (.653 winning percentage) in March under Spoelstra, compared to a regular-season winning percentage of .580 in all other months. What is it about this specific month late in the season before the playoffs begin in April that gets the Heat to play its best basketball? A lot of the players asked didn’t have an answer, but Dwyane Wade offered a theory.