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 designed Beantown Banter, writes the majority of the pieces for the site, and controls the social networking among other things. Bailey is currently a freshman at Syracuse University majoring in Sport Management. He is a diehard Celtics and Red Sox fan, but also actively follows the Bruins and Patriots. Additionally, he serves as a contributing writer at Celtics Life. Earlier in 2010, Bailey interned in the Sports Department of the New Haven Register, interviewed multiple athletes, including ex-Celtic Ryan Gomes, and worked as part of a team to get the section done every weeknight. He covers both Swimming & Diving and Women's Tennis for The Daily Orange, SU's school paper. In his free time, Bailey enjoys playing pickup basketball, beating his floormates in NBA 2K11, and sporcling for hours on end. Although he is unsure exactly what he wants to do for a career, it has always been his dream to cover the Celts and Sox.