About Last Night

About Last Night: Dwyane Wade's Defensive Prowess

Wade nearly blocks the Bay, Luka outduels Lillard and Philly looking phenomenal

Ben Couch, NBA.com

For all the stats Dwyane Wade has compiled in this 16-season career, I personally most enjoy this:

Wade ranks No. 17 among active players in blocks, his 868 sandwiched between Robin Lopez (894) and Joakim Noah (857). Depending on how you classify swingmen like Vince Carter (No. 19, 852) and Andre Iguodala (No. 33, 540), Wade might well be the only guard among the top 50.

Even during this #OneLastDance, that talent remains dangerous and on display. Kevin Durant got got with this wily anticipation helper on Sunday in Oakland:

Sure, it was ruled a steal — maybe Durant was passing, who’s to say? — and that finish might have been a little more finesse than fierce, but the play crucially gave Miami their first lead of the fourth quarter with less than a minute to go.

Unfortunately for Wade, Durant had the last laugh, nailing a game-tying 3 shortly after as Golden State closed out the 120-118 victory. Wade finished with 10 points, six rebounds, nine assists, a steal and a block in 28 minutes.

Even in defeat, there was plenty of love in the Bay for Wade. Warriors forward Draymond Green spoke highly of Wade’s breakthrough as an “undersized 2-guard” and how he felt it paved the way for other so-called “tweeners”.

“D-Wade was an inspiration for me,” Green said. “He’s had an incredible career. What he’s done for that organization, it’s been amazing, and yet he’s still out there this year, playing well … it’s good to see a guy as great as D-Wade close out on a strong note.”

Indeed. And pretty sure we all saw this one coming:

Here’s to those three All-Defensive nods, Dwyane. Cheers.

Luka and Lillard

Out in Dallas, Damian Lillard looked like he had enacted a one-man Maverick takedown, scoring 16 straight Portland points (hitting eight consecutive shots) as part of a 21-point third quarter on Sunday.

But then the entire Blazers squad combined for nine fourth-quarter points, outscored by rookie swingman Luka Doncic (13 in fourth, 28 overall) alone. Portland’s 15-point lead evaporated, and Doncic hit several shots down the stretch, bringing him up to 11-for-16 on shots to tie or take the lead in the final two minutes of games. This kid, though.

Philadelphia’s ‘fifth’ man

Following the pre-deadline acquisition of Tobias Harris, everyone’s been locked in on Philly’s potential, particularly due to the “Big 4” taking the floor at tipoff for Philadelphia. But it’s J.J. Redick who actually might elevate his profile the most.

In two blowout victories since the trade, Redick’s put up 55 points on 19-of-28 shooting (9-13 3s), even chipping in eight assists. He’s basically walking onto the court wide open, and is capitalizing on a career spent seeking the slivers of space necessary to get off one of the league’s cleanest shots.

Check this one, which resulted in a four-point play during Philly’s 143-120 win over the Lakers.

(He made the free throw.) If Redick’s hitting those, watch out Eastern Conference. Goodness.

Also, Ben Simmons took a pullup 3-pointer — just his third such attempt of the season, and the first that wasn’t a heave — which allowed Redick to display his comedy chops:

De’Aaron gets defensive

De’Aaron Fox is wild fast, and that’s most often obvious on offense, all explosive attacks toward the rim. But more than a few times this season, Fox has turned on the jets in pursuit and left layups finding fresh directions en route to the rim.

The stats have the 6-foot-3 point guard averaging only 0.5 per game — he’s 15th among guards with 28 on the season — but it’s worth watching in case you get one of these:

An effort in vain

Sorry, Kyle Kuzma. Needed to throw a few more on that 39-point line. Looked good doing it though:

And another

One for fun

Shimmy game strong. Happy Monday, kids.