Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 6/14/13
At some point, Dwyane Wade was going to have a game like this. He was not going to limp away in these NBA Finals the way he had in the first three games, hardly registering as a blip in the big picture of the series. Sure, Wade is banged up, probably even legitimately injured. He is just 31 years old, but he is an old 31, having come up as a hard-charging, contact-initiating kamikaze in an era of the NBA when excessively physical play and punishing flops were almost always rewarded. Earlier in this year’s playoffs, there were reports that he was taping his kneecap in place to keep it from floating around under skin. It was believable, because he was playing like a man who was taping his kneecap into place –until Game 4. For one night, Wade looked every bit the “big” part of that hackneyed “Big Three” nickname people insist on giving the Miami trio. He dropped 32 points on the Spurs in a 109-93 victory, tying the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. It was his greatest postseason performance since 2006, when he almost single-handedly led a bruising Heat squad anchored by an aging Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning over the Mavericks in a six-game slugfest. This was the performance the Heat needed from Wade not just to win the game, but to possibly jump-start LeBron James as well. Because Wade does the things James will not do. Because Wade will be selfish where James will not. Because Wade lives for overcoming adversity, battling through pain and silencing an opposing crowd in its building, whereas James … well, oftentimes it seems like he won’t. If the Heat go on to win the championship, Game 4 may be looked back on as the moment of Wade’s resurgence. Really, it was a resurgence for the Heat’s entire “Big Three.” Chris Bosh was a beast defensively, whether muscling up with Tim Duncan or offering help at the rim, and finished with a decidedly un-soft stat line of 20 points, 13 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. James was immense, accepting the mid-range jump shots the Spurs gave him instead of fighting against it the way he did in Game 3, and totaled 33 points on 15-for-25 shooting. Still, their will came from Wade. He started strong, accounting for 10 of Miami’s 29 points in a first-quarter scoring spree, then added four more while playing all but one minute of the second quarter. He added eight in the third quarter, which has been the decisive quarter in the series, and got trigger happy with 10 points in the runaway fourth quarter. Unlike James, who feels guilty taking those 18-footers the Spurs dared him to take, because it takes him out of the drive-and-create mode ingrained in him, Wade has no qualms with being selfish. Wade took those open jumpers when he wanted, and when he didn’t, he attacked his defender with a head of steam built up over those six feet of cushion. Suddenly, something clicked for James and Bosh: Hey, it’s OK for us to be a little selfish, too. We should be insulted by the Spurs’ game plan to concede open jump shots. Don’t they know who the heck we are? A great series just got more intriguing. Danny Green and Gary Neal still cannot miss. Tony Parker is still the ultimate competitor, even on one leg. Manu Ginobili, Wade’s kindred spirit in the art of the flop, has been beyond atrocious, and it figures the 35-year-old will also have his last gasp at some point. Champions do that, even when they are old, banged up and left for dead. Depending on what happens in Game 5 in San Antonio on Sunday, the Spurs have to win at least one of the last two games in Miami, where the white-clad crowd will be so loosened up on wine coolers that their usual mild disinterest might be replaced by something resembling actual engagement in the action. Whatever happens the rest of the way, Game 4 will be noteworthy. It may be the performance that sparked the Heat on to the title, or it may be simply a proud stand by a beaten and beat-up man. Wade was certain to have his breakout game at some point. What is less certain is how many more he has left in him. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here. Related articles Gary Neal, Danny Green Outperforming Heat’s Role Players, As Spurs Have Been Better ‘Team’ So Far (nesn.com) Danny Green Insists ‘Something’s Not Right’ With Dwyane Wade, Downplays Spurs’ Defensive Job on Heat Star (nesn.com)

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Hue Jackson: Kizer 'positioning himself well' to win starting job

Grading the deal: Celtics, Cavs trade Kyrie and Isaiah Thomas

Jon Jones tests positive for steroids, reportedly stripped of title

Report: Bills have not made LeSean McCoy available in trades

Emmanuel Sanders involved in car accident on way to team facility

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Old Isaiah Thomas tweet about LeBron goes viral following trade

Reports: Cavs, Celtics complete trade involving Irving, Thomas

Report: Smaller-market teams support Pacers in tampering case against Lakers

Report: MRI confirms ankle sprain for Odell Beckham Jr.

Jason Garrett indicates Ezekiel Elliott could play this week

Chuck Pagano: Still no timeline for Andrew Luck’s return

The 'When the Doctor took the Big Apple by storm' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline: Calls routed from 1-900-MIX-A-LOT

The Indians are on a mission to make you pay attention whether you want to or not

15 college football coaches who are on the hot seat

Getaway Day: The playing field is leveling off as the wild-card chase takes shape

The 'Anquan Boldin calls it a career' quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

Box Score 8/18: Reds and Cubs claw through a 23-run game

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

BIG3 Referee Hotline: Calls routed from 1-900-MIX-A-LOT

The 'When the Doctor took the Big Apple by storm' quiz

The Indians are on a mission to make you pay attention whether you want to or not

The 'Anquan Boldin calls it a career' quiz

Getaway Day: The playing field is leveling off as the wild-card chase takes shape

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker