Heat guard Dwyane Wade played nearly 35 minutes Sunday night, the second game of back-to-back contests for Miami.
Steve Mitchell/Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — Dwyane Wade expected to experience some unpleasantness by playing both ends of back-to-back games during the weekend.
The Miami Heat star hadn’t competed on consecutive nights since mid-November, when he competed just 22 minutes on the back end and missed the following two games.
Asked what he wanted to see from himself physically by playing against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night, Wade said it was a test.
"To be able to see if I could play with a lot of discomfort," Wade said. "I know I can with some discomfort. (I wanted to see) if I was going to be able to move the way I wanted to move, knowing we were playing a team with young, athletic guys and a team that gets up and down some.
"Watching (the Raptors), they’re a team that runs a lot of different sets. You gotta have legs, you gotta be able to chase these guys. I just wanted to make sure I was able to do that and I felt like I did. It was a good first back to back for me."
Wade scored 14 points in nearly 35 minutes to help the Heat defeat the Raptors 102-97. That followed his 20-point effort in a win at Orlando on Saturday night.
Even Heat teammates weren’t sure Wade would play against Toronto.
"It was awesome. It surprised me," center Chris Bosh said. "It was good to see him out there. That’s the part of it you have to shock your body — the back to backs are tough and it’s good to have that mental exercise to have to push your body through that.
"Especially coming in and playing at 6 o’clock after playing at 7 o’clock (at Orlando)."
Wade played a combined 70:38 in the two games and was active throughout Sunday’s game.
"It says he’s feeling good, definitely getting back into the rhythm where he wants to play, where he feels comfortable," said forward Michael Beasley, who scored 17 points off the bench.
"He’s dealing with something that’s not easy to deal with. It’s definitely a good sign and it definitely makes us feel good that he’s able to play back-to-back."
Wade said he arrived at AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday expecting to play, but "I wanted to go through the proper channels, do all the things I needed to do to prepare."
Often during pregame media sessions this season, Erik Spoelstra has been asked about Wade’s availability. And often, the Heat coach’s response is similar to Sunday’s.
"Dwyane is still going through the process right now of warming up and seeing how he’s feeling," Spoelstra said.
"His legs were live and he had to make some defensive plays in the end, even if he wasn’t able to get the ball to drop in the fourth quarter," said Spoelstra, who reiterated Wade’s availability remained a day-to-day situation.
Wade did not seem concerned about scoring nearly six points below his average on a night LeBron James had 30 points.
"LeBron had it going, I was just trying to make plays," said Wade, who had nine rebounds. "It wasn’t a big offensive night for me, but I focused on doing other things."
It has been six months since Wade underwent OssaTron treatment (shockwave) on his right knee during the summer. That was nearly five years after having the procedure done on his left knee.
The perennial All-Star said Monday would be a big day, one to enjoy some rest and get treatment in an attempt to play three games in four nights when New Orleans visits on Tuesday night.
"I will continue to take things day by day," Wade said.
Nevertheless, that Wade played significant minutes in two straight games appeared to be a huge positive for a team seeking to three-peat as NBA champion.
"It was good for him and it was good for us for him to continue to get rhythm," Bosh said. "And I think us continuing to try to put this thing together and making sure we’re going up, taking steps forward instead of back, we’re going to need everybody playing at their best."