No shame in playing second fiddle to LeBron
MIAMI — Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can take comfort in knowing Hollywood legends Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Denzel Washington all have won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor.
LeBron James is Miami’s biggest star and everybody else on the team has become a member of his supporting cast. Never mind that Wade, a nine-time All-Star, and Bosh, who has been named eight times, are used to being leading men.
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The way James has been playing, the Heat have gone from featuring the Big Three to having the Giant One and two Bigs.
But Bosh isn’t complaining.
“I know he’s the best player in the world,’’ Bosh said of James, last year’s MVP and likely also this season’s. “But we are the best supporting cast.’’
Even Wade, who was Finals MVP in 2006 and Miami’s big star until James and Bosh joined him in 2010, doesn’t dispute that notion.
“I know you can’t win an Oscar unless everybody does their job in a movie,’’ the guard said when told of what Bosh had said and endorsing James for Best Actor. “And, obviously, he has a great supporting staff. He doesn’t have to score 30 every night.’’
That was quite evident in Sunday’s big 105-91 win over Indiana. James scored a season-low 13 points and for the first time this season was just his team’s fourth-leading scorer.
Point guard Mario Chalmers stepped up to score 26 points. Bosh had 24. And Wade scored 23 points to go along with six steals.
Wade has been so good lately he was named Monday as Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Of course, James still leads him 5-1 in such awards for the season.
Wade is averaging 21.8 points and has a career mark of 24.9. Bosh, who spent his first seven NBA years starring in Toronto, is averaging 16.9 this season and 19.6 for his career.
Both are bound for the Hall of Fame. But they’ve stepped aside to take supporting roles alongside James as he has become without question the NBA’s top player.
“That’s part of it. For us to get where we wanted to go, we knew we were going to have to sacrifice,’’ said Bosh, whose sacrificing has included this season moving from power forward to center for the betterment of the team. “That doesn’t change. We just have All-Stars to fill that role, and I think that works out pretty good.’’
Bosh and Wade aren’t the only All-Stars in James’ supporting cast. Guard Ray Allen, Miami’s fourth-leading scorer, with a 10.8 average, has made 10 trips to the game. And forward Rashard Lewis, who is only averaging 3.8 points but is waiting in the wings to perhaps play a key role in a playoff game, is a two-time All-Star.
Then there’s Chalmers, who thinks he’s an All-Star and did look like one Sunday, when he shot 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Despite averages of 8.2 points and 3.4 assists, Chalmers recently said he’s in “the middle part’’ of the “top 10’’ point guards in the NBA.
The other guys on the Heat have the ability to step up when needed. But most of the heavy lifting is done by James, a do-everything forward averaging 26.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 56.2 percent.
“He’s downplaying himself,’’ the three-time MVP said about Bosh referring to himself as one of the members of James’ supporting cast. “We got a great team and no individual will ever be able to win a game for us, and we have to do it as a collective group.’’
Still, if James is Miami’s Best Actor this season, others on the team will be quite happy to contend for Best Supporting Actor. That is, if it results in the Heat winning a second straight championship.
“As long as you get the Oscar,’’ Bosh said. “Don’t nobody read it. They just say, ‘You got an Oscar.’ (And the response could be), ‘Yeah, you don’t.’’’
Playing a supporting role in this production hardly diminishes Wade and Bosh. After all, Nicholson, De Niro and Washington also have won Oscars in their career for Best Actor.