Dwyane Wade dunks the ball in front of Manu Ginobili during the fourth quarter… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)
1. Stories of Dwyane Wade’s demise were greatly exaggerated. He was too old. His knee wouldn’t hold up. He had lost his edge. Stop it, already. Wade was easily the best player on the court Thursday night during the Miami Heat’s 109-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. He was smart. He was spry. He was prolific. Wade finished with 32 points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists, becoming the first player in the Finals to record 30 points and six steals since Isiah Thomas in 1988. Wade got to the rim with ease, showing remarkable explosiveness. Looks like there’s plenty of game left in the 31-year-old.
2. Miami’s Big Three > San Antonio’s Big Three. There was already widespread talk after the Heat’s blowout loss in Game 3 about breaking up the core of the team, that it was time for LeBron James to move on or to find a better supporting cast. Uh, no. Wade, James and Chris Bosh combined for 85 points and 30 rebounds in Game 4, eight more points than the Heat scored as a team in Game 3. San Antonio’s core of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili was not even half as productive, accumulating 40 points and 11 rebounds. Parker went scoreless in the second half, missing all four of his shots, after scoring 15 points in the first half. Ginobili has largely gotten a free pass from criticism in this series despite averaging seven points and making only 35.7% of his shots.
3. James may have the last laugh. The knee-jerk reactions after Game 3 — Is this the 2011 Finals all over again? Did James really prove anything last year against Oklahoma City? — were laughable. Hahaha. The joke’s on everyone who doubted James. He was his aggressive and efficient self in Game 4, scoring a game-high 33 points on 15-for-25 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. James was everywhere, his presence just what the Heat needed to tilt things back in its favor.
4. The AT&T Center is in the middle of nowhere, and has poor cellphone reception to boot. Just making sure we haven’t lost you yet. (Not that these aren’t legitimate points.) On to the next takeaway.
4. The Heat held a block party in enemy territory. Miami had seven blocks from five different players, including, incredibly, Mike Miller stuffing Kawhi Leonard. Bosh and James had two blocks apiece, emblematic of the Heat’s toughness on a night when it would have been much easier to wilt. The blocks were part of the reason Miami held San Antonio under 100 points for the third time in four games.
5. Miami still hasn’t lost back-to-back games since falling against Indiana on Jan. 8 and Portland on Jan. 10. (By comparison, the Lakers lost consecutive games on six occasions since then, and their season ended more than a month ago.) This may not be a big deal for the Spurs so long as they can win Games 5 and 7. But the sentiment of the public and the wise guys has already shifted back in the Heat’s favor. According to Pregame.com, Game 5 is a pick 'em proposition and the Heat now has a 71% chance of winning the series. It’s the fickle truth in a wildly vacillating series that could be in for a few more unexpected turns.