LeBron James has always been one to defer to his teammates – often times to a fault. But after Monday’s game in which the Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks, James came to the defense of teammate Dwyane Wade.
TNT analyst Charles Barkley had criticized Wade on before last Thursday’s Knicks-Heat game, saying that Wade is no longer the same player and doesn’t “explode anymore.” Monday night, Wade dropped 26 points on 11 of 13 shooting – a performance some might call “exploding.” That qualifies according to LeBron. When asked what Wade’s Monday performance meant, LBJ was pretty candid.
”It means Charles Barkley needs to shut up,” James said. ”I mean, the man’s shooting 80% from the floor in the last couple games. Come on, man. That’s like crazy, right? That’s why he is who he is. Unbelievable.”
Wade is 20 of 25 over his last two games and he’s averaging 20.2 points per game thus far this season. But, Barkley may have a point as Wade’s scoring average has decreased each of the last five years, down from 30.2 in 2008-2009. Sure he had the basketball more often then, but he was also more springy and spry five years ago.
Barkley probably has a point, LeBron. Then again, it doesn’t matter what Barkley or any other analyst says. They have a job to do and part of his job to make the lackluster NBA regular season worth watching.