The Miami Heat cruised to a 3-0 series lead in their first round matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, so when Dwyane Wade posted one of the worst scoring lines of his NBA playoff career -- 1-12 shooting, 2-4 on free throws and six turnovers -- it wasn't a major storyline. When the competition gets tougher in the later rounds, it could become a bigger issue if Wade plays like he has against the Bucks.
The 10-year veteran guard has set the bar pretty high for himself in the postseason. He has averaged 24.9 points on 47.6 percent shooting and 8.5 free throw attempts per game over 113 career playoff contests. He's been efficient (55.9% TS, 49.4% eFG), effective (24.0 PER) and fairly judicious (14.4% turnover rate) over the course of his postseason career, but things have dropped off significantly through three games in 2013.
|Dwyane Wade Playoff Stats||PPG||FG%||PER||TS%||eFG%||ORB%||DRB%||AST%||STL%||TOV%||USG%||ORtg||DRtg|
Against the Bucks, who can barely put out a credible group of defenders without Larry Sanders on the floor, Wade is 14-38 from the field (36.8% FG) and he has turned the ball over four times per contest. His free throw attempts per game (6.0) are at the lowest point since the 2003-04 season (5.8). He's getting to the rim less often than normal while going against Monta Ellis (gulp), and if this trend continues it could threaten the Heat's run at a repeat.
In fairness, Wade has found other ways to contribute. He dished out 11 assists and swiped five steals in Game 3 to offset his 1-12 shooting night. In 101 minutes, the Heat have still outscored the Bucks by 14.9 points per 100 possession, according to NBA.com/stats. Miami has steamrolled Milwaukee in all three games, so when Wade scored four points in 36 minutes on Thursday it's possible he was just coasting.
Then again, this shot chart through three playoff games suggests something isn't quite right with D-Wade at the moment.
The Heat are nearly finished with the Bucks, but there aren't any more sub-.500 teams in the field. The spotlight isn't on Wade yet, but it will be soon. This is a 2013 NBA playoff storyline to watch as the postseason progresses, because it could affect Miami's ability to repeat as NBA Champions.