So there you are, pacing the sidelines. You look quite sharp in your pressed white shirt and suit, with your slicked back, grey-around-the-edges hair. You yell and shout, exhort your team to rotate quicker on help defense, to make the extra pass for the easy jumper, to get out quicker in transition.
Tonight, for the first time in a while, your impassioned pleas pay off. You walk out of Seattle's Key Arena with a road victory, and it's on to the next battle on the next court. It's a rare hot streak, your team having won two of their last three games now. Not everyone would consider such a short blip such a positive, but when tonight's win brings your team to a record of 11-45, you have to take every win for all it's worth.
The Miami Heat and their coach Pat Riley are in a strange position, one to which nobody seems to have an agreeable solution. Stuck in a rut and perhaps unwilling to admit it, the Heat foolishly soldier onward. The team found themselves in a 3-10 ditch by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, and down a well by the time Santa Claus paid a visit to Miami - a Christmas Day loss to fall to 8-19 that started a 15 game losing streak.
So the Miami Heat suck this year. We know this. The intriguing part of all this is that here we are, 26 games left in the 2007-08 season, where the Heat are dueling with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the worst record and the top of the lottery - and Dwayne Wade is still right there in the starting lineup, playing forty minutes in Seattle last night. If you do nothing beyond looking at the numbers in the boxscore, everything seems fine. He tallied 31 points in those minutes and led his team to a win.
The divergence comes when you add in the knowledge that Dwayne Wade is not playing healthy. At the end of last season, Wade had surgery to repair both his previously dislocated left shoulder and severe patellar tendinitis in his left knee. It has long been believed that Wade never truly recovered from those surgeries before the season got into full swing
On the one hand, you can see him dropping 31 points and that he puts up his best shooting percentages on the nights he gets the least amount of rest, and it's easy to think that there's no discussion to be had. On the other hand, Seattle is just as bad as Miami. When Wade played against the Lakers two nights ago, Wade already looked like he was starting to fade by halftime.