Dwayne Wade finds offensive groove again, but performance overshadowed by Heat’s inept defense

The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade drives against the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma during the Lakers victory in Miami on Thursday. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

MIAMI – At halftime Thursday, Dwyane Wade had not miss a shot, making him 14 of 16 from the floor going back to the third quarter of Tuesday’s game.

Wade finished with 25 points, three rebounds and three assists, while shooting 11 of 18.

But, unlike Tuesday, even Wade could not bail out the Heat, not with their worst defensive effort of the season leading to a 131-113 disappointing loss to the fast-paced Lakers.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was pleased with the Wade’s shot selection and thought “everything (came) within the flow.”  Which made the night even more frustrating.

“That’s the shame,” Spoelstra added, with the eighth-place Heat moving on to host the ninth-place Pistons on Saturday. “In (26) minutes he has a night like that and it’s a blowout. To me that feels like a wasted night from him.”

At 36, these nights are no longer the norm from Wade. Yet, the Heat have been treated to consecutive performances that have been as vintage Wade as anybody has seen this year, or even the last two years since Wade left Miami for Chicago in the summer of 2016.

Wade’s performance Thursday follows one that will be part of Heat legacy when he scored 15 of Miami’s final 17 points and 27 for the game, including a contested jumper in the final seconds to give the Heat a one-point win over Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Wade’s two-game average of 26.0 points, on 61.8 percent shooting is a stark improvement over his first five since returning to Miami in which he averaged 8.6 points on 34.5 percent.

While with Cleveland this season, Wade played 46 games and just three times succeeded 20 points. He averaged 18.3 points on 43.4 percent shooting with the Bulls last season.

“Just trying to get familiar with what my role is and what this team needs from me at different times,” Wade said. “Obviously offensively the last two games I found a couple of things that work. Just continue to try to get better, as I said when I came here, try to continue to get in better shape so I can give this team more.”

Wade, though, still has a way to go as evidenced by still being unfamiliar with a few offensive sets.

“I blew a couple of assignments offensively,” he said. “I got to get more into the playbook. Coming out of a time out I missed one. I hate messing plays up out of a time out. We got a turnover out of it.

“Just a lot more work to do.”

This is why Spoelstra has opted not to mess with Wade’s role since he returned, so he can find a groove and get more used to not starting. Spoelstra continues to bring the 12 time All-Star and future Hall of Famer off the bench, even Thursday when starting guard Tyler Johnson missed the game because of a bruised quad.

Instead, Spoelstra returned Kelly Olynyk to the starting power forward spot and moved Justise Winslow to small forward and Josh Richardson to shooting guard.

“I’m still trying to get a grasp of everything, become more of a student,” Wade said. “I continue to learn individuals on this team, I continue to learn the offensive system.

“But yeah, definitely, I’m just trying to get better each time I step on the floor but as a team that’s what’s important this time of the year. It’s all about the wins.”

But anything Wade, or anybody else, did offensively was overshadowed in a game in which Miami allowed the most points it has all season and the most it has in regulation in 10 years. And as a leader, Wade expressed extreme disappointment in the collective effort.

“It was, obviously, for all of us, very disappointing,” Wade said. “Besides the coverages, they did a lot in transition, especially the first half. But to have breakdowns in our defensive coverage we practice a lot, I know it will be something that will be a point of emphasis going forward. But when you lose games that way it’s worse because you should be able to take away something. We didn’t take away anything tonight and that’s on all of us. We got to do a better job.

[What was Rodney McGruder’s reaction when he heard his name called Tuesday?]

[With Tyler Johnson (and Wayne Ellington) out tonight, Kelly Olynyk rejoins Heat starting lineup]

[Dwyane Wade already ‘leaned down’ three weeks after being traded to Heat, but not done yet]

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