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Heat’s Wade: Bulls have what you need to contend
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Jan 15
As the anticipation built towards the free agency bonanza of 2010, there were a few days where all indications pointed to Chicago native Dwyane Wade giving serious interest to signing with the Bulls.
In the end, of course, Wade stayed with the Heat and recruited LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join him. In his return to the United Center for the first time since this past summer, Wade was complementary towards the team he nearly joined.
“It was a great experience; I had great meetings with the Bulls,” said Wade. “I decided to go back to the team that believed in drafting me from the beginning and was able to be a part of something special. But Chicago was always a top choice for me if I was ever not able to be in a Heat uniform. It’s just something that didn’t happen.”
Wade was right. While he had received mixed cheers in the past from fans at the United Center, Wade knew that would not likely be the case on Saturday, especially given the Heat’s previous 22 road games this season, in which they had compiled a 15-7 record.
“They’re not cheering for us [in other games on the road], so I expect it to be the same way [at the United Center],” said Wade. “The Chicago fans are coming out to support their team, as well they should.”
As for that team, some might see the Bulls and Heat’s first matchup as a measuring stick of sorts, aside from the fact that neither team is at full strength—Chicago without Joakim Noah and Miami without LeBron James. And while the Heat have proven to be the cream of the crop in the East over the last few weeks—winning 21 of 22 games before losing their last two—he believes the Bulls are not far behind.
“They’re not that far [from us], they’re a very good team,” said Wade of the Bulls. “Just like with Boston and us, they’ve had injuries and dealt with it well. This is a playoff team that is No. 1 in defense for a reason; they’ve bought into the system.
“The Bulls are right there,” Wade continued. “They might not be the headlines of ESPN every night. But they have exactly what you need to be a championship-contending team, the two star players in Boozer and D-Rose, who has emerged to be what everyone thought he could be, maybe even quicker than people expected, as well as a great coach and deep bench.”
Wade added that the most impressive thing about Derrick Rose to him is something that doesn’t appear in box scores.
“The biggest thing when I look at D-Rose play is the confidence he is playing with,” said Wade. “Confidence is so key in life and especially in the game of basketball. The way he’s shooting the pull-up three, it’s like I thought it would take him a couple more years to get that confident shooting. But he’s just confident in his overall game and he understands his abilities and strengths.
“There aren’t many point guards who have ever played this game who can do the things that D-Rose can do,” Wade added. “That’s why he’s one of the best in our game and that’s why he’s an All-Star. I’m sure Chicago is happy to have him.”
Audio—Heat guard Dwyane Wade at shootaround (01.15.11):
Audio—Heat forward Chris Bosh at shootaround (01.15.11):
Speaking of Rose… there is still time to vote
The NBA released the fourth returns of the 2011 NBA All-Star voting this week, with Derrick Rose now ranking second among guards in the East—trailing Miami’s Wade—and sixth overall among all NBA players.
To help elect Rose as the Bulls’ first All-Star starter since Michael Jordan in 1998, the Bulls and Adidas passed out Rose All-Star campaign placards to all 22,000 plus fans at Saturday’s game against the Heat. The get-out-the-vote signs were placed on every seat at the United Center that afternoon. Additionally, red roses were distributed to all courtside seats to promote All-Star voting.
Fans can vote daily and often for their favorite Bulls players like Rose at Bulls.com/votebulls, in arena, through their mobile phones by texting the player’s last name (ROSE, NOAH, DENG, or BOOZER) to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”) or by visiting m.nba.com on any wireless carrier.
While surely one of his votes goes to Wade, Rose might have some support from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who talked about trying to contain the Chicago point guard.
“What do you do now?” Spoelstra wondered aloud. “I mean, seriously. When a guy can attack like that and get to the rim and compromise your defense so much, pretty much when he decides when he wants to go. He’s that quick and explosive. And then if he’s shooting threes, the game plan has to change. For two years, it was meet him under the three-point line and give him those shots and bait him into that. Now, he will make you pay. It’s not like he’s shooting one a game, he’s shooting four. But it still has to remain your key to try to limit his paint attacks, which is much easier said than done.”
Audio— Miami coach Erik Spoelstra at shootaround (01.15.11):