Erik Spoelstra's decision to bench Dwyane Wade wasn't strange at first, as it seemed perfectly normal to rest the star and prevent injury as his team trailed by as much as 21 points against the Utah Jazz. But Wade stayed there as the team rallied back to within two points, as did Udonis Haslem, while Chris Bosh re-entered the game with only 40 seconds left.
In defense to Spoelstra, it's not like the Heat had nobodies in the game with Wade out: Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis were each instrumental in hitting big shots to bring the team back. But after their strong play got it close, its odd he chose to leave Wade out of the game as it got within striking distance. Wade had no hard feelings after the game:
For his part, Wade said, "That group did a good job bringing us back."
Asked if he expected to get back in, Wade added, "I don't know. I just always stay ready. Coach makes the calls. I'm just the player."
Wade didn't have the worst game - in his 29 minutes, he had 11 points on 11 shots, five rebounds, and four assists - certainly nowhere near his best effort, but he's been in single digits before twice this season, and had been equally inefficient with 18 points on 18 shots three games earlier, but hadn't gotten the hook. And it's not like he was the only reason the team playing poorly: nobody on the Heat posted a plus/minus better than plus-1 in the game.
But Spoelstra decided keeping the star sidelined was the best way to deal with a team that's struggled recently: Miami has lost three of four, and last night's seven-point margin of defeat belies how big of a hole they were in. That said, it's unlikely Spoelstra will go away from his star repeatedly.