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Wade: I’m “Playing Angry”

By DeAndré Phillips

Bad things happen when Dwyane Wade is angry – bad for opposing teams; good for Team USA and the Miami HEAT.

On a conference call from Macau early Wednesday morning, the four-time All-Star said he was fed up with doubters of his health, Team USA’s commitment to winning gold and doubters wondering if he could ever return to his superstar form.

He’s taking that bottled up frustration and using the basketball court as his release.

“I’m just out there playing angry, for a lot of different reasons,” Wade said. “Coach K actually wants me to play that way, so it’s good. But I’m just out there playing. I’m very focused. I know how hard I worked, so I’m not out to prove that I worked hard or that I’m healthy. I’ve told everybody I’m healthy for a long time. I’m not into proving it anymore. I think my play will show the rest.”

He put all three of those concerns to the test in Team USA’s first exhibition game against Canada. And he didn’t disappoint, scoring 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting to help USA trounce its North American neighbor, 120-65.

Wade, who played in his first game in over four months last Friday, said that even if America wins gold in Beijing, NBA teams should still take heed.

“It’s going to be like that probably all year – for a while,” he said. “That anger, that focus – getting back to total respect. Any doubt that people have in their mind about you as a player, you want to erase it. Just like when I first came into the league, I played angry. So it’s that same kind of feeling on the court. And right now for the Olympic team, we all should be playing angry. People believe in our talent, but a lot of people still have doubts about us.”

Wade is playing in a different role with Team USA than with the HEAT. Last Friday, Wade stepped into the starting lineup in place of LeBron James, who suffered from a mild right ankle sprain. With James back healthy, he moves back to the bench, a role he played with USA’s bronze medal team at the 2006 World Championships.

Playing alongside the best point guards in the world, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul and Deron Williams, has allowed Wade to play more off the ball. Wade says he welcomes that change.

“It frees me a lot,” he said. “I’m able to do a lot of different things. I have an opportunity to cut to the basket. I get a lot of free shots cutting behind the defense. I’m pretty good at it. It’s a totally different game. I’m continuing to find my way with these guys. I just try to get in where I fit in.”