MIAMI – After suffering a hip pointer late in the first half on Tuesday, Dwyane Wade came back into the game and rescued a desperate Miami Heat team that was locked in a struggle with the Chicago Bulls.
Wade's Willis Reed impersonation was huge for the Heat, who were once again without Shaquille O'Neal for long stretches due to foul trouble.
Wade's penetration and scoring helped unleash Miami's offense, which had become stagnant through much of the game. He finished with 28 points and helped blow open a tie game with a big fourth quarter in the Heat's 92-78 victory.
Miami's defense was sharp and active for the first time in the series, holding Chicago to 35-percent shooting. The Heat will try to close out the Bulls on the road Thursday in Game 6.
TEAM OF THE NIGHT
San Antonio Spurs – With the Sacramento Kings bearing down on them and actually tying the game in the final minutes, the Spurs showed why they're the NBA champions. San Antonio scored on five straight possessions late in the game, capping a night in which the Spurs shot 57 percent from the floor and scored 109 points. It was a terrific win, especially considering the fact that Bonzi Wells and Ron Artest were virtually unstoppable, combining for 62 points. But the Spurs overcame a tough night defensively with a huge performance from Manu Ginobili, who recorded 27 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Tim Duncan added 24 as the Spurs moved the ball with ease, racking up 27 assists on 39 baskets. They'll try to win the series in Sacramento on Friday night, or face a Game 7 on Sunday.
BEST EFFORT IN A LOSING CAUSE
Bonzi Wells – The Kings have been riding Wells the past three games, and he could do no wrong in Game 5. Wells scored 38 points and grabbed 12 boards as the Spurs once again had no answer for him. Gregg Popovich tried putting Robert Horry on Wells to combat his size but that didn't work. Wells stepped outside and made all three of his three-point attempts and also worked his way to the foul line to make nine of 12 attempts. As a free agent this summer, Wells is making himself a lot of money with his spectacular series.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Vince Carter – With his New Jersey Nets clinging to a three-point lead with just over a minute to play, Carter drove left around Danny Granger, swooped to the rim and dunked the ball to give the Nets a five-point lead that they wouldn't relinquish. The highlight-reel play capped a spectacular 34-point, 15-rebound, seven-assist performance by Carter, whose team is now one win away from beating the Indiana Pacers and advancing to the second round.
BONEHEAD PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Raja Bell – With his Phoenix Suns comfortably ahead in the fourth quarter, Bell committed a flagrant foul on Kobe Bryant by clothes-lining the Los Angeles Lakers star and pulling him down by the neck. Given the precedent of the NBA's playoff suspensions of James Posey and Udonis Haslem, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Bell suspended for Game 6. The Suns will point to the actions of Kwame Brown in Game 3 and Reggie Evans in the Clippers-Nuggets series as examples of why Bell shouldn't be suspended. But either way, Bell crossed the line and put his team in a difficult spot heading into Thursday's game at Staples Center.
VIEWERS GUDE FOR WEDNESDAY
Game 5: Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons – The Pistons are in position to close out the series, but they can't let down defensively like they did in Games 3 and 4. Detroit must slow down a Bucks team that shot 55 percent in Game 4 and has been riding the hot hand of Michael Redd. The Milwaukee star has scored 73 points in the last two games, and with Rip Hamilton struggling with an ankle injury, the Pistons have had a hard time containing Redd. Detroit's Chauncey Billups comes off a huge 34-point game.
Game 5: Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers – After Game 4, Gilbert Arenas was asked about his competition with LeBron James. "It's all about LeBron," Arenas said. "We are all witnesses." Arenas proved he has a funny sense of humor, but the reality is the two of them have dominated this series and have a fierce battle going on. The pivotal Game 5, however, may come down to the two stars' respective supporting casts. The Cavaliers, whose offense has been very stagnant, are searching for a scorer to complement James. Washington has received good production from Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. If the Wizards get a good game from those two, they have an excellent shot at winning the game and taking control of the series.