In a championship or bust context, it can be said the first year of the "Big Three" era was a failure. Despite Miami showing signs of greatness in the 2011 postseason, Dwyane Wade’s 26.5 points. 7 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in the Finals could not make up for the sudden disappearance of LeBron James and Miami’s weak bench. Of course the Heat longed for a chance to redeem themselves after being embarrassed on a national stage, but with the impending lockout they would have to incubate in a painful off-season.
In a Christmas Miracle, regular season games began on December 25th where Miami had an opportunity to seek vengeance on the Mavericks after witnessing their ring ceremony. What emerged was something truly spectacular. Miami’s quickness and effectiveness in transition was on full display thanks to James and Wade and they proceeded to embarrass Dallas 105-94.
It can be said that the 2011-2012 season is responsible for Wade’s current knee issues due to how compact the schedule was. The amount of games crammed into such a short season definitely played a role in some of the wear and tear Wade is currently experiencing and arguably also took its toll on other players as well such as Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant.
Things started to go downhill for Wade on January 13th where he suffered an ankle sprain versus the Nuggets and the injuries piled up from there. Wade missed 13 games due to injury and was a DNP-CD four times throughout the season. In this hellish season, Wade suffered a left foot contusion, a sprained right ankle, a left knee contusion (bone bruise) and a dislocated right index finger. However in the 49 games he did start in Wade was elite averaging 22.1 points on a .497 field goal percentage, 4.8 rebounds, 1.67 steals, 1.29 blocks and 4.6 assists per contest.
Due to his stellar season performances, Wade once again received numerous accolades. Wade received All-Star honors and put up a triple-double during the game (the third in history) as well as later earning much deserved All-NBA third team honors.
Despite being banged up for the majority of the season Wade excelled in the postseason where he posted a commendable stat line of 22.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. Wade’s finest moment of the playoffs came on the brink of elimination against Indiana in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals sans Chris Bosh. Regardless of any pain Wade was feeling, he poured his heart out on the hardwood delivering an incredible performance of 41 points and 10 rebounds to propel the Heat to victory. Wade was almost flawless using his signature footwork to trick opponents and appearing incredibly explosive. Watching this game live, it was almost as if the win resulted in Miami gaining their second wind headed into the Eastern Conference Finals.
Although Wade delivered stellar play in the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami was home to the LeBron show. Excepting his second-tier role on the team, Wade allowed James to break loose and of course deliver a ECF Game 6 showing like no other. With Wade’s new role in place it appeared as if Miami was finally going to hoist another banner.
In the Finals versus the Thunder Wade was truly elite, averaging 22.6 points, 5.2 assists and 6 rebounds. He was fully aware that a Finals victory against Kevin Durant and company would result in a combined effort from him and James and he delivered. The series of course went to 5 games and was closed by Mike Miller’s shooting prowess, but Wade also delivered a great Game 5 outing to help put them away.
Wade was actually very very good in most of the Finals games as can be witness through the footage below.
It was only in the offseason where we would discover how poor Wade was feeling in the postseason and he would of course have to undergo a knee procedure. Despite his ailments, Wade remained a warrior and in doing so helped lift Miami to victory. Winning his second championship. Wade was on top of the world as the Heat remained public enemy number one. Despite the criticisms Miami would receive, it was obvious that the Heat were on the path to something great and it was just beyond the horizon.