MIAMI — It really was a case where the cause didn’t matter as much as the effect.
The Knicks went into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first round series against the Heat last night without their superb, athletic rookie defender, Iman Shumpert. Now everyone figured Dwyane Wade, whom Shumpert would have drawn as a defensive assignment, would have been ultra-aggressive at the outset.
Wade was. But he chuckled at the notion he did so because he didn’t see Shumpert aligned against him. He did so, Wade explained, because he figured the guys in orange and blue would be trying to figure a way to snuff LeBron James, who was a one-man demolition team Saturday.
the Heat’s 104-94 win last night in Game 2 of their NBA playoff series." title="POINT TAKEN: Dwyane Wade celebrates during his 25-point effort in the Heat’s 104-94 win last night in Game 2 of their NBA playoff series." width="300" height="300" src="/rw/nypost/2012/05/01/sports/web_photos/01.2s061.WadeC--300x300.jpg" />
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg
POINT TAKEN: Dwyane Wade celebrates during his 25-point effort in the Heat’s 104-94 win last night in Game 2 of their NBA playoff series.
“It’s all about the game. They were going to key on LeBron,” Wade said. “He had a very good game so I just tried to be aggressive early. The biggest thing was, I was getting touches in my sweet spot. My teammates were doing a great job of getting touches for me and passing me the ball where I could make easy shots. It was more about being aggressive.”
And yeah, it helped that Shumpert wasn’t there. But Wade went about his business early, scoring 11 of his team-high 25 points in the first quarter alone. Wade had help up and down the lineup as the Big Three played like the Big Three and the supporting cast gave tons of support. Add it all up and it more than negated the 30 points Carmelo Anthony managed for the Knicks as the Heat took a commanding 2-0 series lead with a 104-94 victory.
But it really seemed to start with Wade, and everybody followed. “He’s an aggressive player,” James (19 points) said of Wade. “D-Wade is a great player. He saw I had it going in Game 1. He kind of let me do that. Same thing tonight. I saw D-Wade had it going, so I made adjustments throughout the game and I was able to focus on getting guys involved getting D-Wade involved, and let him carry the offensive load. It’s great to have that, when you have a one-two-three punch out there.’’
The three, of course, is Chris Bosh (21 points), but the Heat last night had a one, two, three, four, five, six, seven punch. But No. 1 was Wade.
“Dwyane was aggressive from the beginning. They knew it was going to put a lot of onus on LeBron tonight,” said Mike Miller. “Shumpert obviously is a great player, but D-Wade has faced great defensive players his whole career and done pretty well. He was aggressive from the start. That’s what D-Wade does.”
No matter who was guarding him. Or trying to.