MIAMI — Clinching a playoff spot is a big accomplishment for most of the players on the Heat’s roster. But not for veterans Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem.
Making the postseason has become part of the duo’s routine. This will mark Wade’s 13th playoff appearance and Haslem’s 12th playoff appearance in their 15 NBA seasons.
So after Tuesday’s playoff-clinching win over the Hawks, there was very little celebration from Wade and Haslem.
“I think it would have been better without UD and D-Wade,” James Johnson said with a laugh when asked about the emotion that comes with clinching a playoff spot. “To them, that’s just normal. They kind of set the tone for that and everyone else just sat down at their locker. I’m still overwhelmed. I’m enjoying this, heart bumping.”
That emotion is what a lot of the Heat’s players are feeling after punching their playoff ticket. Take out Wade and Haslem, and the other 13 players on Miami’s 15-man roster have combined to play in 141 games and make 28 starts while logging 2,900 minutes in the playoffs.
To put that into perspective, Wade easily surpasses those numbers by himself with 172 games, 172 starts and 6,570 minutes played in the playoffs during his NBA career. Combined with Haslem, those numbers jump to 319 games, 256 starts and 9,764 minutes played in the postseason.
Wade and Haslem are also the only Heat players who have won an NBA championship.
“I was tired,” Wade said when asked why he didn’t celebrate after clinching a playoff spot Tuesday. “Me and UD are old grumpy men.”
Aside from Wade and Haslem, Goran Dragic (30 games, 14 starts and 709 minutes) has the most playoff experience among the rest of the Heat’s roster. Rodney McGruder, Bam Adebayo and Luke Babbitt have never played in the NBA postseason before.
And while Wayne Ellington (2 games, 0 starts, 14 minutes), James Johnson (19 games, 0 starts, 158 minutes), Dion Waiters (18 games, 0 starts, 491 minutes — but will not play in playoffs this year due to injury), Kelly Olynyk (26 games, 2 starts, 431 minutes) and Jordan Mickey (4 games, 0 starts, 28 minutes) have some playoff experience, they’ve never been part of a postseason run with the Heat.
“The energy. It’s amazing energy in this building,” Wade said when asked about playoff games at AmericanAirlines Arena. “I was telling some of the new guys that was here, the first game I came back against Milwaukee [on Feb. 9], that was a playoff atmosphere. I said this is how it is in April, May and so forth.
“The energy in this building is amazing. A lot of people around the NBA have tried to copy our vibe that we set in this building. It’s flattering. Our fans take a lot of flak from the outside about being late, and all these things. But when our fans are in this building, it’s still one of the loudest places to play and you feed off it. I look forward to our young guys being in that environment.”