There's no telling how often this can happen for Dwyane Wade.
The spotlight pointed right at LeBron James on Thursday after a blazing start and a 33-point finish that ended when he was bloodied. Yet, it could be more significant that Wade put in a 24-point, 10-assist performance that helped the Miami Heat to a 103-81 statement win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Knee soreness, the plague to Wade's production as he's aged, didn't appear to be an issue, and the Heat guard played a crucial 37 minutes on Thursday.
It started innocently enough. Wade scored his first two baskets on easy transition dunks.
But before the first quarter ended, Wade posted up the shorter Derek Fisher and scored on a fallaway jumper after taking contact. He went back to the post to begin the second, fading this time over the longer Jeremy Lamb after a nifty reverse crossover dribble.
Ten of Wade's 24 points came as easy transition buckets and he scored 1.14 points per possession on 11-of-17 shooting, according to Synergy Sports. He was often the initiator of the fastbreak. Though his three steals came by being in the right place at the right time, it's the impact he made pushing the ball up the floor that helped the Heat cruise.
Wade on his performance: "That's the Dwyane Wade I know."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 21, 2014
Wade handled the ball a lot, and he has in both games coming out of the All-Star break.
The Heat guard had 10 assists Thursday by both making the easy plays in transition -- playing with James helps there -- but also running the offense in the halfcourt.
Chris Bosh scored nine of his 24 points on jumpers off Wade assists, and Wade's fluid and confident look off pick-and-roll action helped open up jumpers on the weak side. Three of the guard's assists to Bosh came in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, when Miami came out of the blocks fast and outscored the Thunder 27-16 despite losing James to a bloody nose with six minutes left.
Wade looking like the young, spry version of his old self could be fool's gold.
Maybe it helped that Miami was in its second game back from the All-Star break. It didn't hurt that Wade had missed the two games leading into the week off because of a migraine headache and foot drop, a minor nerve issue.
Still, Miami learned that it can still count on Wade to step up when the time is right.