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Bounce back potential

Just a guess here, but Dwyane Wade must be sick and tired of hearing about him possibly being injured.

It's more than a guess, actually. He's clearly annoyed with people wondering if he's hurt. Dwyane doesn't even like to talk about his injuries when he is actually hurt, so he must be extremely annoyed answering questions about his health just because he shot 37 percent with 15 turnovers in his last three games against the Bulls.

Wade says he basically had some dead legs, at least that's what he was overheard saying after the Game 5 clincher (something to the effect of "I gotta get my legs back under me.").

Wade-stevenson “I had bumps and bruises then if anyone remembers that (2006 Finals) series,” Wade said Sunday. “Obviously I’m five years older, so I’m not as fast and athletic as I was when I was 24, but when it comes to my body, I mean, playing this many games everyone’s body has taken a beating. But it’s mental right now more than physical at this point.”

So these days to rest before Tuesday's Game 1 will certainly help him.

As will all the talk his struggles.

Remember how people spoke about Dwyane's struggles against Boston during the regular season leading up to that Game 1 of the second round?

In large part because of that, Wade was determined to perform in that game. He answered with 38 points on 21 shots, with five assists, three steals and two blocks.

He did say it's mental at this point. And if Wade's determined to show he's fine, the Mavericks will probably be the victims.

It's not as if Wade shot the ball poorly against the Mavs in the regular season. He was 16 of 33 (48.4 percent) combined in the two games against Dallas in the regular season, and got to the line 17 times (missed nine of them, though). His main problem against the Mavericks was turnovers, and that was just in the first game, when he had seven. And that was when this offense was unfamiliar and awkward.

The Mavericks will probably employ some zone in this series, which would encourage the Heat to take outside shots. Wade's easily the best on this Heat team at penetrating a zone, so he would probably have more responsibility than LeBron James against the Mavericks zone (LeBron's better at working the middle of the zone and either passing to a cutter on the baseline or hitting a mid-range shot).

If Wade has his legs under him and his quickness is there, he'll be able to break down the Mavericks zone. If the Mavs go man-to-man, he'll have to deal with DeShawn Stevenson, who's a very good one-on-one defender but not good enough to consistently stop Wade. Besides, more often than not, the Mavs run Jason Terry or even Jason Kidd at the two-guard, with J.J. Barea coming in to handle the point. Kidd is a quality defender still, but he does it with strength, good positioning, good anticipation and quick hands. He's not exactly quick anymore, and Wade has had some success against him.

Wade's biggest issue will likely be once he gets to the paint. Tyson Chandler is terrific at altering shots, and he's big enough to flat-out block Wade's shot. So he might attempt a good number of pull-up jumpers or floaters over the big man.

Either way, with all this time to rest his legs, work on his strategy and listen to those who are questioning him, there's a good chance Wade will have a strong Game 1.


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