The Heat look for a third consecutive victory in the finale of a six-game road stretch Saturday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Wade scored 37 points in Miami’s 115-106 win at Houston on Friday night. Wade’s play has been a big reason the team is 3-2 on the trip, even after he sprained his wrist in a 118-89 loss at Utah on Monday.
The All-Star was held to 13 points in that contest, but followed it up with 35, nine assists and seven rebounds in a 115-102 win at Golden State two nights later. Despite the injury, Wade is shooting 25 of 39 from the field and has 17 assists in his last two games.
“(The injury has) helped me mechanically,” said Wade, who still feels pain but is averaging 30.4 points and shooting 51.2 percent in his last eight games. “Normally, I’m a line-drive shooter, so I have to put the ball over the rim a little more, because I don’t have the rotation and wrist that I want to (have). So I’ve had to shoot it a little higher and it’s helped me out a little bit.”
With the injury and trying to recruit other pro athletes to raise funds for the recovery effort in wake of the recent earthquake in Haiti, Wade has managed to stay focused and keep the Heat (20-18) in position for a winning road trip.
Wade might need some support again Saturday, even though Oklahoma City (21-18) is trying to avoid a third straight loss after falling 99-98 at Dallas on Friday.
While Wade had 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds and O’Neal added 19 with 10 rebounds, the Thunder snapped a three-game losing streak to the Heat with a 100-87 win at Miami on Nov. 17. Wade is averaging 30.8 points and 7.2 assists while shooting 49.0 percent in his last four games against the Thunder.
Though Durant is averaging 33.8 points in his last four games, Oklahoma City has lost four of seven by a combined 13 points, including each of the last two by one point.
“We’re going to find a way to win these games,” said Durant, who’s averaging 24.6 points in five career games against the Heat. “I guarantee you that.”
In order to do that, the Thunder will likely need to show some improvement after shooting 42.0 percent and blowing a nine-point third quarter lead Friday.
“You play well against really good teams, but they’re still losses,” said Oklahoma City center Nick Collison(notes), who had 10 points and 10 rebounds against Dallas. “You see how much of a fine line it is between winning and losing.”
The Thunder are 11-9 this season at the Ford Center, but the franchise has lost four in a row at home to Miami.