Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wanted to deliver one message regarding the status of guard Dwyane Wade. Wade is helping the team, not hurting it. If so, the Heat would be struggling instead of cruising through the postseason. A day after Wade aggravated his sore right knee in Game 4 against the Chicago Bulls, Spoelstra was on the defensive about his superstar. "He's helping us win right now," Spoelstra said Tuesday. "OK. One of these days boxscores will have your plus-minus impact and maybe eventually people will start to look at a boxscore differently and eventually a new generation of fans, the media, staff will see that's the most important one and he's having that impact." The Heat have lost just once in the playoffs despite Wade averaging only 12.3 points, nearly nine below his season average. After Monday's six-point effort against the Bulls, he is averaging 11.3 points in the series. The Heat, ahead 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, can close it out Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena. The decline in Wade's numbers is often contributed to the injury that has bothered him since early March. He is dealing with a deep bone bruise on the knee that, despite a week off between the first and second rounds, remains an issue. It resurfaced Monday when Wade collided knees with Bulls forward Jimmy Butler in the second quarter of the Heat's 88-65 victory. Spoelstra took offense to the injury being the focus, even though the Heat are one win from advancing to the conference finals for a third consecutive year. "I understand the interest level in it, but what you dislike about team sports is people lose sight of the main thing being the main thing," Spoelstra said. "Dwyane's proven himself as a warrior, he's helping us win and at the end of the day we're up 3-1 with a chance to close out. We knew going into this series that it wasn't going to be about averages and that was one thing we had to have a discussion about before the series." Wade's status is "day-to-day," according to Spoelstra. Unlike last year, there is no structural damage. He did not need to have the knee drained as was the case last season against the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs. The Heat will evaluate him Wednesday before making a decision if he plays in Game 5. They were in a similar situation in the close-out game against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. With a comfortable 3-0 lead, the team chose to rest Wade. The Heat won 88-77, improving to 12-2 in games they have played without Wade. All but one of the absences was injury-related. "We all know what he's dealing with," Spoelstra said. "He's been dealing with that for the last 6-7 weeks. He's day to day. He'll come in and get treatment. We'll evaluate him (Tuesday). We'll reevaluate him (Wednesday) and go from there.''
Spoelstra defends Dwyane Wade's performance
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | May 15