No player has had to carry his team more all season than Wade, who led the league in scoring and was third in defensive player of the year voting. So maybe it's not surprising that Wade's back is sore and stiff. He was in obvious discomfort during Game 4, missing 17 of 26 shots and needing a lift from teammate Jamaal Magloire to get off the bench. Wade will play in Game 5, but if he can't dominate, the Heat won't win. Complete playoff coverage | Scores, schedule | NBA Playoff Central
What happened to Michael Beasley?
Miami's prized rookie entered the playoffs on a roll with five straight 20-point games, but he's struggled so far in his first postseason. Through four games, Beasley is averaging 7.0 points on 28.2-percent shooting. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has reduced his minutes each game, from 33 to 22 to 19 to 11. Miami has managed to win twice thanks mainly to Dwyane Wade and the emergence of Jermaine O'Neal, but Beasley was the team's No. 2 scorer in the regular season and needs to rise to the occasion, especially with Wade hampered by a bad back. Complete playoff coverage | Scores, schedule | NBA Playoff Central
Should the Hornets bother showing up?
It doesn't get much more humiliating than a 58-point loss at home in the playoffs. New Orleans suffered that indignity Monday at the hands of the Nuggets. Now down 3-1 and on the brink of elimination, the Hornets might respond with a spirited effort in Game 5 in Denver. But they look like a team that's ready for a long vacation. Tyson Chandler can't run or jump, the bench is a joke, Peja can't make a shot and even Chris Paul is a picture of frustration. Complete playoff coverage | Scores, schedule | NBA Playoff Central
Does Joe Johnson need to play better?
The Hawks are getting balanced scoring in their series with the Heat. Six Atlanta players reached double figures in a Game 4 win, with no one scoring more than 15. Still, it usually takes a big series by your best player for a team to advance in the playoffs. Johnson, the Hawks' best player, is averaging 13.8 points, nearly eight below his regular-season number. He's shooting 37.8 percent from the field, 22.2 on 3-pointers and 52.9 from the line. He also has more turnovers (15) and fouls (12) than assists (10). Hawks fans often say that Johnson is underrated compared to stars like Dwyane Wade; so far he's looking overrated. Complete playoff coverage | Scores, schedule | NBA Playoff Central
Will the Nuggets be overconfident?
Maybe there should be a rule that says a series is over when the road team wins a game by 58 points. Instead, the Nuggets still have some work to do. Up 3-1 after their destruction of the Hornets in New Orleans, it would be understandable if Denver's players are already looking ahead to the next round. But as Chris Paul said, it was just one game. The Nuggets need to take care of business tonight and play with the same defensive intensity and offensive execution they mustered in Game 4. If not, they might be the ones who get embarrassed. Complete playoff coverage | Scores, schedule | NBA Playoff Central