Although his scoring numbers have dipped to their lowest point since his rookie season of 2003-04, his 21.5 points per game are still the eighth-best average in the league. He's one of just four players averaging at least 21 points, five rebounds and four assists, and one of only three to do so with a 50-plus field-goal percentage.
Yet somehow, Wade isn't even the best player on his team. In fact, he's not even close.
Call it the minuscule curse to go along with the myriad of gifts playing alongside a transcendent star—in this case, one LeBron James.
Wade's decision to hand over the franchise to James is largely credited as one of the key cogs in the Heat's 2012 championship run.
But would it kill the Heat's repeat hopes if James let Wade steal the show every now and then?
Whatever the reason, it sometimes seems as though James is determined to not let it happen.
Line of the Night (runner-up): Dwyane Wade 39 pts, 7 asts, 8 rebs, 3 stls, 19-28 FG, W— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) February 27, 2013
Of course, there's that parenthetical note that precedes his numbers. Do I really need to tell anyone who Wade was the runner up to?
James finished with a season-high 40 points, career-high 16 assists and eight rebounds. He became the first player with 40 points and 16 assists since former Phoenix Suns star (and current Sacramento mayor) Kevin Johnson had 42 points and 17 assists against the Denver Nuggets on April 3, 1994 (via USA Today).
But Wade's performance was far from an anomaly. In fact, it was business as usual for the streaking star:
.@dwyanewade tallied season high 39p, to go w/ 8r, 7a tonight. Over his last 4, he's now avg. 28.3p, 6.8r, 5.0a, 2.0s, 1.5b.— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) February 27, 2013
As for James, he's averaging 29.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists over the entire month of February. Oh, he's also shooting a ho-hum 64.1 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from three-point land for the month (via basketball-reference.com).
But James' overshadowing play hasn't been a recent development. On the season, Wade has scored at least 30 points seven times. In three of those games, he's been outscored by James. In two others, James tallied triple-doubles.
During last season's championship playoff run, Wade put forth a number of season-saving efforts. And nearly each time, it was James who finished with the more impressive numbers.
After the Heat fell behind 2-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Indiana Pacers, Wade averaged 33 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists over Miami's next three games to close out the series.
Impressive, right? But here we see James' wide shadow yet again. He averaged 36 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8 assists over the same stretch.
Wade's best effort in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics came in a losing effort. He finished Game 5 with 27 points, six rebounds and three assists. And James, naturally, rose to the top of Miami's box score with 30 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of assists.
The 2012 NBA Finals saw more of the same.
During Miami's series-changing wins in Games 3 and 4, Wade posted an impressive stat line of 25 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. But the Finals MVP, James, cemented his award behind 27.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in those two games.
The cohesiveness throughout coach Erik Spoelstra's lineup was evident during last year's championship run and has shown throughout the team's current season-high 12-game winning streak.
This phenomenon isn't something that will disrupt that chemistry. Probably nothing more than a friendly competition bringing out the best of two of the finest stars of today's game.
Wade might like a taste of the spotlight every now and then, but something tells me a championship parade is more than enough attention to whet his appetite.
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