Dwyane Wade is one of the all-time best playoff performers in NBA history.
Despite his age getting up there, the 35-year-old has managed strong offensive production for the Chicago Bulls in their competitive first round series against the Boston Celtics.
The star guard has averaged 17.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists in the five playoff games so far. That's an increase on his rebounding and assists numbers and still good for second on the team in scoring.
But the defense? That might be another story.
Check out this clip from Wednesday's 108-97 loss in Game 5 to Boston, which results in an easy put-back for Avery Bradley.
On the second quarter play, it's unclear who Wade was initially covering but the best guess is Isaiah Thomas, although he starts off his inbound coverage by playing near the basket in a help position.
Then, when Thomas gets the crosscourt pass (which Wade should've been covering), Jimmy Butler leaves Kelly Olynyk wide open in the corner.
Thomas wisely feeds Olynyk as Wade gives no second thought to challenging Olynyk's shot. Instead, Wade gingerly takes a couple steps under the basket, but certainly does not get into an effective rebounding position.
Instead, the ball caroms off the rim, and Boston's Bradley - all 6'2" of him - sneaks into the best possible rebounding position (the opposite side of the rim on a 3-pointer) untouched for the easy two points.
Another underrated part of this possession is how easily Chicago's Isaiah Canaan also gives up on the play. Canaan was guarding Bradley but he stands like a statue near the 3-point line as Bradley runs by him on the way toward the easy basket.
I guess Canaan is taking the direction from his veteran teammate.
Plays like these add up throughout the course of an NBA playoff game, but it's probably a fact that the Bulls are worn down.
Butler has had to shoulder possibly the heaviest load of any player in the playoffs. In addition, Wade is getting up there in age. To expect that he'll be able to have a superhuman effort every postseason is probably an idea that's outdated. Keep in mind that Wade missed most of the stretch run of the regular season with a broken wrist and is probably not in playoff condition.
It's probably time for the Bulls to pack their bags on the season.
For the Bulls to win Friday night back home at the United Center in Game 6, the whole team will have to be engaged and that starts with stars like Wade.
On both ends of the floor.News Now - Sport News