Celtics coach Doc Rivers called it "Phenomenal." Heat coach Erik Spoelstra described it as "Greatness." In my opinion, no word can accurately describe D-Wade's scoring barrage yesterday afternoon.

As a Boston fan, the Celtics loss was disappointing, but as a basketball fan I couldn't help but appreciate Dwyane Wade's historic performance as I watched Game 4 slip away from the Celtics' grasp. Wade played his heart out, knowing full well that his season and possibly career in Miami was over if they lost. His 46 points were a playoff franchise high for the Heat and was undoubtedly one of the greatest all-time playoff performances against the Celts, but where exactly does it stack up?

The Celtics have had some incredible playoff scoring performances. Bob Cousy (50), Sam Jones(51), John Havlicek (54), and most recently Ray Allen (51) have all scored over 50 points in Boston green and white. However, only 3 players have cracked the half century mark against the C's in the postseason, Michael Jordan (63), Elgin Baylor(61), and Bob Pettit(50). Although Dwyane Wade fell 4 points short of the milestone, he shot 16 of 24 from the field, giving him a shooting percentage close to 67%.

Guards don't shoot 67%. It just doesn't happen. In the playoffs, regular season, pre-season, or pickup games at the local YMCA. Guards don't shoot 67%. When LeBron James scored 45 on the C's in game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals, he shot 48% from the field. When MJ scored 63 points in 2OT back in '86 against Boston, he shot just under 54%. When Elgin Baylor set the record for most points in a regulation playoff game with 61 in the old Boston Garden, he didn't even shoot 48%. Heck, when Kobe dropped 81 in a regular season game a few years back, he didn't even shoot 61% from the field.

I'm confident Wade could have scored another dozen had he not made an effort to get his teammates involved early in the contest. Amazingly, Wade only had 2 points in the 2nd quarter. He did however pick up the slack and score 30 of his 46 points in the 2nd half to set another franchise record. Although Jordan outscored Wade, he had 2 extra overtime periods and failed to win the game. Celtics fans may appreciate that fact, but it certainly takes away from his achievement. Baylor won the game for the Lakers in possibly the most underrated playoff performances of all time.

In yesterday’s game D-Wade was knocking down treys off the dribble and shot 5 for 7 from beyond the arc. Although there wasn't a hand in his face on every attempt, they weren't wide open 3 pointers either. Boston's plan to stop Wade was to prevent him from getting to the basket and make him be a jump shooter. After the game, Celtics captain Paul Pierce said. “On a normal day those are shots you want him to take, but it wasn’t a normal day.” Indeed, Wade's performance was far from normal, but was it the best ever against the C's? That's for you to decide.

Stephen Bailey 4/26/2010 02:14:00 PM Edit
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9 Responses so far.

  1. JR says:

    Well written and researched piece. Often when players have huge scoring nights, their totals are spiked by an overtime to two. Wade didn't have that luxury. The 16 FG's are very impressive considering that if you told me he'd score 46 points in a game, I would have guessed a ton of that would have come from the line. Wade put on a show. I guess I forgive Breen now for what seemed at the time as over the top gushing.

  2. Probably right behind Jordan's performance. Good article.

  3. tb727 says:

    Great article, his shooting percentage puts into perspective just how fantastic he was yesterday

  4. ThomasJ says:

    Nice article about a super performance. I think Paul's quote sums it up the best.

    Taking nothing away from Wade, but he is a great scorer who isn't a good 3 point shooter(he shot 30% this season and 28.9% career)and this offensive explosion was mostly about him being absolutely unconscious from long range.

    We all rip Sheed's 3 pt. shooting, but Wade is in the same class as the lazy chucker from long range normally, but he came up big yesterday.

  5. tb727 says:

    Uh oh Thomas, you open a can of worms around here with ANY reference to Sheed lol.

  6. JR says:

    I might be in the minority, but I prefer Wade to 'Sheed...

  7. Thanks guys. Hopefully Wade's performance only has 1 act.

  8. Jenda says:

    Great article Bailey.
    And JR, you'd have to pick someone much more resentful than D-Wade against TLB to be in the minority.

  9. ThomasJ says:

    I wasn't saying I liked Sheed better than Wade.

    Wades's not lazy and not a chucker, his usual bricklaying from long range is done with more discretion.

    LeBron James isn't considered a 'great' shooter but he is better than Wade from 3 range.

    Game four was an aberration and I would play him the same way in game 5. Wade will have to be unconscious again with 50+ to win.

    Not criticizing a well written article, let's just take a deep breath and not mention MJ's game.

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