You knew it was going to be a big game for the Miami Heat when there star player Dwayne Wade became very emotional in the pre-game national anthem. With all of the battles that Dwayne Wade has gone through in American Airlines Arena, it was hard to bet against the Heat today with that kind of emotion on their side.
When asked about the emotions going into Game 7, Wade had some good words to say about his teammates.
“I knew tonight would be a great moment for these guys,” Wade said. “I felt that we was going to win this game. I knew that our energy and our crowd was going to be enough, and we was going to be prepared. And I was just thinking about how these guys was going to feel after playing a Game 7.”
A great day is an understatement.
In their first playoff game since the departure of LeBron, the Miami Heat routed the Charlotte Hornets 106-73. It was the fifth most lob sided playoff game in NBA history, and was their first playoff series win without LeBron since Dwayne Wade won his first title in 2006.
Dwayne Wade has always had another superstar to lean on throughout the playoffs. He had Shaq in 2006 and obviously had LeBron and Chris Bosh in 2012 and 2013. This year, he was hoping to have Bosh by his side in the playoff run, but because blood clot developments after this years All-Star break, Bosh was forced to the sidelines to see his teammate take over.
Wade had the help of teammates today, though. Goran Dragic stepped up big for the Heat as he dropped 25 points while adding 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Big man Hassan Whiteside added five blocks and 12 rebounds and was a defensive king down low. The Hornets went 2-11 from the restricted area, and that just goes to show Whiteside’s inside presence because they were so inefficient and they shot a small amount of inside shots.
Miami’s offensive rating was 120.1 with Goran Dragic on the court as he was one point shy of his playoff high.
Dwayne Wade needs this kind of help from his teammates if he wants to take this team to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat will be facing a Toronto team that hasn’t been out of the first round since 2001, so it will be two teams with little experience beyond their veterans.
For the Hornets, well, they have to take this one on the chin. They didn’t show up on either side of the ball. But looking at it in the grand scheme of things, it was their first three playoff wins since becoming the Bobcats in 2004. It was going to be tough for them to beat this Miami team today, regardless of their production today. Miami was not going to be beaten on either end of the floor today.