D-Wade Drops 41 as Heat Stave Off Pacers

After turning in a few lackluster performances of late, the never-ending news cycle and knee-jerk brigade turned its attention to Dwyane Wade and his sudden and abrupt downfall as a the alpha dog on this Miami Heat team, while LeBron James took center stage as The Man With The Biggest Nuggets.

But with all due respect to LeBron's nuggets, the never-ending news cycle and knee-jerk brigade can suck it. Because it would seem that the news of D-Wade's demise were pretty damn premature.

Wade tied a franchise record by scoring 31 points in the first half alone (scoring 41 overall) to lead the Heat over the pesky Indiana Pacers 110-103. Mmmm...nuggets!

LeBron added 27, and Chris Bosh 22 (that's 90-combined points on the night for the Big Three for those of you who love synergy and shit) to help the Heat fight back a feisty Pacers club that outscored Miami 35-17 in the second quarter. The Pacers' big run was able to cut Miami's lead down to four before the half.

But even when Indiana took a 73-68 lead in the third, the game never really felt like it was in doubt. Not with Wade treating the entire Indiana Pacers defense like his own personal hand puppet.

D-Wade's first eight shots of the game were the ACME TNT to Mike Dunleavy's Wile E. Coyote, as Wade dropped 16 points in the first five minutes with Dunleavy guarding him. The Pacers then removed a charred-up Dunleavy with a giant pair of tongs and replaced him with Paul George, who didn't seem to fare any better against MV3's awesomeness.

Not to be outdone, LeBron got in on the Let's Kick The Pacers In The Kidneys Pants Party 2011 with a self-assist slam-dunk. With just under six minutes to play, James threw the basketball off the backboard, caught it, and dunked it -- with one hand.

But the play of the night came early on when D-Wade grabbed a rebound off a Pacers miss and tossed the basketball the length of the court for a perfect pass to James. LeBron caught the allyoop and scooped it in for the score, officially making Dwyane Wade the best quarterback in Miami.

The Heat head to Toronto Wednesday night to face Chris Bosh's old team before the All-Star break.

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Chris Joseph