Miami Heat all-star guard Dwyane Wade giggled when asked whether he needed to average in the 40-point per game range for the Heat to beat the Celtics in their best-of-7 first-round playoff series.
"You can't predict that," he said Saturday morning. "You don't know how the game is going to go and how the ball is going to bounce. Do I need be effective in this series for us to win? Yes. But for my game, it's not just about scoring. I can get 20 points and 12, 14 assists and that's just like getting 40 so I don't really worry about what people on the outside say. I know what's made us successful and it hasn't been me scoring 40 points a night."
Wade is correct. The Heat is 9-4 in games where Wade has 10 or more assists. One of those losses was Feb. 3 in Boston when he scored 30 points (on just 16 shots) and collected 13 assists. It was obvious that evening that Wade made it an emphasis to be a distributor. The other four Heat starters all scored in double figures, as did Udonis Haslem.
"That's an ideal game for me," he said. "I'm not one of those guys who wanna get 40 or 50 and get one or two assists. I am more of a 30-10 guy and I would love for that to happen. And at the same time, I know the recipe for success of this team is everybody being involved. And also this team (the Celtics) plays good defense, so they are just not going to let me carve them up anyway so I have to be a facilitator. I got to hit my guys in their sweet spot and there's also times I am going to be able to attack and hopefully get in a groove."
The Heat also plans to mix up their defenders on Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, and Wade said that is the best strategy.
"Of course Ray is a guy who is one of the tough covers because he's always moving," Wade said. "He's the only guy in the league pretty much who runs off three screens to the 3 (point line) and can shoot it in 0.2 seconds. He's a tough cover but he makes you concentrate and focus more. You want to throw different guys at him. I am not going to chase him all game.
"Rondo is a guy, he's not a "shooter" but he is a guy who is an attacker. So it's a different matchup and you have to turn the switch on both of them."
Wade on the series: "It's going to be a challenge. This is a team that's very confident, who feels they haven't played their best basketball yet. This is a team in Miami who feels we are going to continue to play well and it's not going to be easy."