[Editor's note: Ryan Gracia is majoring in sports communication and journalism at George Mason University and freelances for local sites of Patch.com. Some of his previous work for TAI can be found here. Below, he recaps the Dwyane Wade vs. Nick Young battle on Friday night.]
It was the second time that the Wizards faced the Miami Heat SuperFriends this season following a trade, and the Wiz put up quite a struggle in both contests — so great that one may even have been so inclined to commit themselves to predicting a win from the bottom-feeding Wizards at some point late in the game. But on both occasions the Heat finished the way a top team should, while the Wizards finished the way a bad team does. So Friday night’s loss in Miami wasn’t unexpected. Still, it was the way the Wizards put themselves in the situation to come away with their second road win this month was unexpected. They fought. Specifically, Nick Young fought.
Against the Heat, Flip Saunders must have shown part “deux” of The Battle at Kruger video that he showed the team before they came out blazing to beat the Nets at home by 20 points on January 7. Clearly, Young understood the concept of that video:
“It was like a lion chasing a bull, and how about how all the bulls came back and rallied as a team and helped them out, so it kind of got us going. Everyone came out and played hard.”
Well, I suppose he did. My guess is that if there was a pregame video in Miami, it may have looked something like this:
Now that we have the possible pregame out of the way, let’s get to the real game – the shooting duel between Young and Dwyane Wade that was.
After some horrendous misses from JaVale McGee, Young finally got the Wizards on the scoreboard at the 9:30 mark with a tough, yet beautiful, leaning jumper off the glass, plus the foul from Wade.
Did Dwyane take that personally and dominate the frail Young throughout the quarter after this? Not quite. Wade mustered just three points, making one layup out of five shots in the first. Nick shot 4-6, giving him 10 total for the quarter. He started things and finished them for the Wiz, setting the tone for the rest of the team to follow, and Washington led 25-20 after 12 minutes.
Things really got hot inside the American Airlines Arena. My stomach dropped after the first time I saw the ball leave Wade’s confident hand. I had a feeling a run was coming. Didn’t we all? I just didn’t think it would be one person on this star-studded team to be doing the mass-murdering and Wizard-posterizing.
But my stomach continued to drop as Wade sank a Miami franchise record 20 second quarter points on the Wizards, rallying his team from five points down to six points up in less than four minutes. Here’s proof of the pudding:
|11:41||25-22||Dwyane Wade makes two point shot|
|11:22||Maurice Evans bad pass (Dwyane Wade steals)||25-22|
|11:19||25-24||Dwyane Wade makes driving dunk|
|11:19||Maurice Evans shooting foul (Dwyane Wade draws the foul)||25-24|
|11:19||25-24||Dwyane Wade misses free throw 1 of 1|
|11:18||Nick Young defensive rebound||25-24|
|11:07||JaVale McGee makes 8-foot jumper (Mike Bibby assists)||27-24|
|10:51||27-26||Dwyane Wade makes 21-foot jumper|
|10:30||Nick Young misses 14-foot two point shot||27-26|
|10:30||Maurice Evans offensive rebound||27-26|
|10:29||Maurice Evans makes layup||29-26|
|10:17||Josh Howard enters the game for Nick Young||29-26|
|10:00||29-28||Dwyane Wade makes two point shot (Eddie House assists)|
|9:47||Josh Howard misses driving layup||29-28|
|9:45||29-28||Chris Bosh defensive rebound|
|9:33||29-30||Dwyane Wade makes jumper|
|9:33||Washington full timeout|
|9:22||Mike Bibby misses 20-foot jumper||29-30|
|9:21||JaVale McGee offensive rebound||29-30|
|9:15||Mike Bibby misses 23-foot three point jumper||29-30|
|9:14||29-30||Zydrunas Ilgauskas defensive rebound|
|9:08||29-33||Dwyane Wade makes 24-foot three point jumper|
|8:55||Josh Howard misses 9-foot two point shot||29-33|
|8:53||Trevor Booker offensive rebound||29-33|
|8:52||Trevor Booker makes 6-foot hook shot||31-33|
|8:38||Trevor Booker illegal defense foul||31-33|
|8:38||31-34||Eddie House makes technical free throw|
|8:32||31-37||Dwyane Wade makes 25-foot three point jumper|
|8:32||Josh Howard shooting foul (Dwyane Wade draws the foul)||31-37|
|8:32||31-37||Dwyane Wade misses free throw 1 of 1|
|8:30||JaVale McGee defensive rebound||31-37|
|8:22||Yi Jianlian makes 20-foot jumper (Mike Bibby assists)||33-37|
|8:32||Yi Jianlian enters the game for Trevor Booker||33-37|
|8:03||33-39||Dwyane Wade makes 20-foot two point shot|
That’s a lot of Wade, isn’t it?
It was an incredible stretch. He scored on an array of dazzling dunks, 3-pointers, layups and midrange jumpers. He did it all. He even had a chance at a four-point play after he got fouled by Josh Howard, but he missed at the free-throw line, where he went 3-9 on the night.
Wade’s shots swishing cleanly through the net added to the eruption of the crowd, also drowning out Young’s very impressive 14-point quarter. Despite Wade’s magic, Young helped keep his team in the game, as they headed into halftime down just 63-61 to the team with the second best record in the league. Young scored 10 straight points in the second from the 5:48 to the 4:11 mark, but it didn’t compare to Wade scoring 16 of 17 Miami points to start the period.
Oh, yea. Dwyane also did this to three of the five Wizards on the floor. (Go to the 28-second mark in the video):
Wade’s overall display and the embarrassment that he put Young, Evans and Booker through on that play reminded me of something Allen Iverson did to Antonio Daniels and the Wizards back in 2006 when AI dropped 47 on Washington:
Both players hit their first shots, though Young went just 1-2 and had two turnovers. He put his horse blinders on unfortunately and was bothered by the pressure the Heat defenders put on him. Wade continued to attack the Wizards and hit his first two shots, going 2-4 with a turnover in the quarter. Young was hindered when he injured his ankle trying to get to the basket on the break, seemingly intimidated by the presence of LeBron, he didn’t go to the rim as directly as he should have. Nick was replaced with 7:32 left in the quarter, and Wade came out with 3:36 to go with unimpressive stats, so the quarter was difficult to judge.
Heading into the fourth, each player had 27 points. Young came back from his sprained ankle to start the final quarter and keep Washington in the game. He scored 11 points in the last 4:02 of play. His willingness to get his team back in the game despite a poor 4-13 shooting performance from his new teammates was a factor in why he was one of only four Wizards with a positive plus-minus rating (plus-3). Wade had 14 points in the quarter, with all of his damage done before Young even got started, and he helped the Heat pull away and nullify Young’s efforts in the end. His Miami teammates followed his lead and the buckets were coming more easily for them down the stretch. Wade takes a lot of shots, but often seems to make those around him better; Young is clearly not yet at that level.
Young’s performance was almost that of a seasoned vet’s instead of a young player on an immature team. He steadily increased his scoring per quarter and was extremely efficient, hitting 12 of 19 shots for his 38 points. It was a very steady climb to his final output, but without a supporting cast, it could not top Wade’s 41 points on 27 shots.
Each player by quarter:
1st – 10
2nd – 14
3rd – 3
4th – 11
1st – 3
2nd – 20
3rd – 4
4th – 14