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Heat Check: Chronicles of a Fanatic

First, let me say that it has pained me greatly to not be more involved as a fan in this forum throughout the season. Nevertheless, I have kept a very close eye on the ins and outs and the ups and downs concerning our Miami Heat team. Let me start the first edition of Heat Check by saying I am extremely proud of our guys. They have grown up right before our eyes. No matter what happens against the in the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, our team has developed-in my opinion-ahead of schedule. Follow the jump for more fanatical rambling.

I know expectations were high because of the additions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to our roster, but conventional wisdom had the Heat experiencing a much tougher time-especially with the Boston Celtics than they actually did. Even I had that series going seven games. Of course I had the Heat winning in seven, and perhaps the injury to Rajon Rondo and the overall health of the Celtic frontline-and the gaping hole they had at center due to the Kendrick Perkins trade-had much to do with the lopsided outcome, but the guys just outdid my wildest dreams. In this chronicle, I will take a deeper look at Dwyane Wade's role on this team.

I must admit I was a little disappointed in Dwyane at certain junctures of the season. Most of you that have been around for the past year or so know that I am a D-Wade guy, so that is not small thing for me. For the most part, I have been proud of this guy in every single solitary thing he has done in his career. I was less than pleased, however, when LeBron James was having what appeared to be a public feud with Coach Spoelstra. I personally felt that Dwyane Wade-the face of the Heat franchise-owed it to the organization and to the overall benefit of the Heat locker room to step up, recite the company line, and implore (if not demand) that No. 6 and everyone else get it together. 

My main initial concern with James and Bosh-but especially James-joining D-Wade in South Beach was that his role [Wade's] would possibly diminish to too large a degree. In the beginning, this fear was perhaps totally justified. Wade missed training camp due to an injury. The Heat got off to the 9-8 start. Neither Wade nor James could make a shot on the final possession to win a game. Has-beens (see Tracy McGrady) quipped that the superstars just did not look comfortable on the floor together.

Looking back, Dwyane Wade did exactly what his basketball team needed him to do as its unquestioned leader. Perhaps Wade did not reprimand LeBron because the whole bumping-into-his-coach-in-the-middle-of-what-may-or-may-not-have-been-a-heated-discussion thing was more of a media overreaction than it was an actual issue. Maybe Dwyane knew he could not come down on No. 6 and the two still be able to coexist. Perhaps he recognized that such a move would have done more damage than good in the long run. Based on the current Playoff run, I would say these superstars have figured it out. Wade sometimes takes over in the second or third quarter, and LeBron James has assumed the role of closer. Chris Bosh has found his way to influence the outcome of a game as well. While LeBron has garnered most of the attention for his recent stellar play (and deservedly so), D-Wade is still the unquestioned leader of this team. For proof, look no further than his performance overtime of Game 4 against the Chicago Bulls and the closing minutes of Game 5. Way to go, No. 3.

As we look forward to the beginning of the NBA Finals, look for more Heat Checks. Next topic, LeBron James and his evolution.