After his ‘playoff preview’ last night against the Knicks, Dwyane Wade put his playing status for the final 2 games of the season in the hands of coach Erik Spoelsra. Wade was smiling as he basically said that he’d be taking the last two games of the season off. This means that D-Wade will have either five days of if the playoff series with Atlanta begins on Saturday or six days off if game 1 is on Sunday.
Wade will continue to practice this week, staying sharp and preparing for the Hawks. The way he has taken his game to another level this season has been thrilling to watch, and I’ve got a feeling we’re in store for some more amazingness in the Playoffs.
Its also nice that the Heat will be able to go smaller against Atlanta, meaning more playing time for Michael Beasley after Udonis Haslem returns to the lineup. Beasley will likely soak up the minutes whenever Haslem or Jermaine O’Neal are on the bench. O’Neal and Udonis will likely start, but Udonis is capable of covering Al Horford (as well as Jermaine O’Neal could) which means the more athletic Beasley can play with Josh Smith. Oh, and should Horford give Haslem and O’Neal problems, we can always throw the Jamaal Magloire blanket on Big Al (Horford).
With Wade resting, Beasley will be the Heat’s first scoring option over their last 2 games and should gain even more confidence going into the Playoffs. The way he has picked up his game over the past week has been almost Wade-like, and when you remember that he is still just an underage rookie and that he will undoubtedly get better…
Finally, we’ve got some Alonzo Mourning comments! He was on ESPN’s First Take and was pleading his case for D-Wade to be MVP:
"I know LeBron is having an amazing season but if you take LeBron off that team then the Cavs are still going to be a great ball club, if you take D-Wade off the Heat, then they wouldn't be in the position they're in today. I feel like based on the impact he's had on both sides of the ball, I feel he's very much worthy of the MVP award."
"I had a great conversation with him before he went off to the Olympics," Mourning said. "I said, 'If you want to elevate your game, everybody knows you can score, but if you're more consistent defensively, not only will you improve your game, it will help stimulate the play of your teammates.' His defense has become contagious for this team and it's the reason why they're successful."
Mourning said he is "excited to have had an influence on him, I kind of look at him as a little brother."
"I know what kind of player he is capable of being and I think he's just scratched the surface," Mourning said. "He had 55 points (Sunday) night and he did it with ease. Defensively he's having such an impact on the game, that's why I'm more biased when you talk about MVP's."