Greatness is forged through adversity: when one's back is against the wall, when one is faced with a do-or-die situation, or when someone keeps reminding everybody that WE JUST MIGHT BE WITNESSING HIS LAST GAME IN A HEAT UNIFORM!
Dwayne Wade is greatness. Even when besieged with the burden of being the only player worth a damn on his team, even while having to slog through the detritus of knee-deep mediocrity, D-Wade continues to perform towering deeds of awesomeness.
The Heat needed to bounce back after a soul-crushing defeat at the hands of a Paul Piece jumper on Friday, where the Heat blew an 18-point lead and faced not only elimination, but a full-on embarrassing four games to nothing sweep. But in game four, D-Wade reminded us all why he is arguably the best post-season player since Michael Jordan.
Wade poured in 46 points (30 in the fourth quarter alone) both career playoff highs, and both franchise records, leading the Heat to an epic 101-92 game four win over Boston. The Celtics, as they have all series long, didn't make things easy. Just when Miami began to pull away, the C's would come back with their stifling defense and lights-out shooting. The degree of difficulty was added with ABC play-by-play man Mike Breen continually pointing out that this could be Wade's last game in a Heat uniform.
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Late in the third quarter, Boston erased Miami's comfortable 18-point lead by going on a 13-2 tear that seemed to suck the life out of the American Airlines Arena and out of the Miami Heat. When the fourth quarter arrived, the Heat found themselves down by six. That's when D-Wade spearheaded a comeback of his own, with an epic assault of slam-dunks and a barrage of three-pointers that left the Celtics defense staggering, and forced Boston head coach Doc Rivers to shuffle players in and out of the game to try and contain him. But how do you stop Superman when you're flat out of Kryptonite?
At one point, with Kevin Garnett standing between him and the basket, Wade attacked the rim with that signature primal intensity of his - where he shows no regard for his body, nor human life for that matter. He flushed the ball down and drew the foul on a stiff, helpless, feeble Garnett. Wade stared into the cheering home crowd with the intense glare of a Bengal tiger whose about to devour a helpless yearling. It was at that moment that you knew he was not going to let this thing end. Wade knocked down a pair of back-to-back ball crushing three-pointers, screaming at his hands as if they were on fire. It was 48 minutes of pure virtuosity.
The series is now 3-1 Celtics, and the teams head to Boston for Tuesday's game five. Regardless of how this ends, one thing is clear. We witnessed greatness on Sunday. Just ask Dwayne Wade's hand. Or, better yet, ask the scorching heap of ashes or whatever is left of Kevin Garnett under the Heat basket.
(And, no, Mike Breen... Dwayne Wade is not going anywhere next season.)