Which, in the big picture, might actually be a bad thing.
The Heat’s two standing superstars combined for 70 points, including a stretch in the second half during which they scored 38 straight points for Miami. Wade followed up one of the worst games of his playoff career (five points, five turnovers in Game 3) with one of the best. He scored eight points on just 3-of-10 shooting in the first half but finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists (and no turnovers).
But even that performance paled in comparison to what LeBron did to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. James played like a man who’d won three MVP trophies in four years, and then some, piling up 40 points, 18 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks.
Which, in the very same breath, is precisely why folks on South Beach should be worried about their beloved ballers going forward. The Heat would’ve likely found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 series standing had it not been for James and Wade collaborating on an effort that was less Batman and Robin and more Batman and Also Batman.
How often, though, can those two reasonably be expected to simultaneously dominate as they did on Sunday?
They wouldn’t need to if Chris Bosh were healthy, though Miami’s lone big man of any reliability wouldn’t likely be available to return from a lower abdominal strain until part way through the Eastern Conference Finals, at the very earliest.
That’s assuming, of course, that Miami can win two more games against an excellent Indy squad in the interim. Had the Pacers played to their strengths even a bit more (i.e. getting the ball inside to Roy Hibbert and David West) rather than jack up jump shots, they might’ve withstood the LeWade Flying Death Machine anyway.
And if LeBron and Wade don’t (or can’t) blow up Basketball Reference during the remainder of this series, who will be there to support them? Will it be Udonis Haslem, who registered his first double-digit scoring effort of the playoffs with 14 points off the bench? Or Mario Chalmers, who poured in eight points after trying to pick up D-Wade’s slack with 25 in Game 3?
Maybe Shane Battier will finally break out, after making just 2-of-19 shots through the first four games?
It doesn’t much matter who else steps up, so long as someone actually does in each game.
Otherwise, the Heatles’ pursuit of an NBA title might come to a disappointingly early end, irrespective of the Herculean lengths to which LeBron and Wade go to keep the dream alive.
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