You wanna talk about ups and downs? In four short games the Heat have gone from awful to amazing and back again. There have been different players stepping up all series, but you know what glares out to me? It's been four games and this series has yet to be branded with Dwyane Wade's signature. He was great in Game 2, but after watching this budding superstar for his entire career, this is not what I was expecting from Wade in the playoffs. This was supposed to be his re-coming out party. He was adamant about saying how he wanted to come out and show the world what he could do this year after all his injuries and talk that he was ‘wearing down'. I think he needs to get back to those roots and figure out what it will take to get that swagger back. The Hawks aren't exactly the defensive juggernaut that should be shutting down D-Wade. Is it wrong of me to expect that for every field goal he doesn't get, there should be an assist, block, or trip to the free throw line in its place?
Moving past Dwyane Wade, it's also been more then disappointing watching our #2 overall pick and ‘future superstar' Michael Beasley look worse then ordinary. Guys like Daequan Cook, James Jones, and even Jamaal Magloire have had a bigger impact on this series, and some of those players have only had one standout game, which is one more then Beasley has had. His regular season stats of 13.9 points on 47% shooting are a far cry from what he's done in the playoffs. He is averaging seven more minutes then he did before the playoffs, but his 28% shooting is just, well, really bad. I'll agree that his ratio of jumpers to layup attempts is more then 4 to 1, but his jumpshot has been one of the best part of his game. The problem hasn't been in his shot selection, but his execution. Still, after a meeting with Coach Spoelstra which led to Beasley feeling he hasn't been driving the ball enough, I'd expect a little more of that in Game 5, as well as Beasley getting closer to his 25 minutes a game he averaged during the regular season, unless somehow he reverts back to the good-ol days of making jumpers look easy.
Ok, enough negativity out of me for one pre-game. I think that Game 4 will act as a wake-up call for this young and inexperienced Heat team. They are getting a grasp on what the Playoffs are all about, and with the heap of seasoned veterans D-Wade, Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O'Neal, I have a little voice in the back of my head telling me that we're going to see something special out of our Heat tonight. It's going to start with the coaching staff breaking down the Hawks defense and getting us back on track. There is no way the Heat will look as impotent on offense as they did during Game 4. Our coaches are too good at what they do, and you can take that to the bank.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
One unfortunate thing about Michael Beasley's playoff performance...if he doesn't pick it up quickly, his hard-working and at times brilliant rookie season will be most remembered for his playoff disappearance.
I'm expecting D-Wade to be fine after back spasms kept most of his shots coming up short and had him a step slower coming off of screens. He knows as well as anyone that this game might as well be a Game 7 for the Heat.
It's been two straight games with the Heat bench not doing much of anything. So whose it gonna be tonight? Cook...Beasley...someone is going to have to step up.
The most consistent player for the Heat in this series has been James Jones. He's provided very good defense while adding the outside shooting element that has been lacking from our bench. Imagine when we have ‘this' version of J.J. going for us all next season. For now, lets be happy he's gotten his swagger back just in time for it to matter to our season.
No word yet on Jamario Moon or Marvin Williams' status for the game. If I hear anything during the day, I'll certainly post it on up, so stay tuned.
There really isn't much more to go over. We know what has to be done. Let's just hope our players go out there and perform the way they can and should.