Wade 7-for-25 from the field in Game 1
Wade, the Heat's superstar second-year guard, was hassled and harangued Monday night by the Detroit Pistons, who held him to 16 points on 7-for-25 shooting in their 90-81 win over Miami in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
How did Wade assess his performance? "Terrible," he said.
Yet his confidence level remained high, and he vowed the Heat would be sharper for Game 2 on Wednesday.
"I'll look at the film tomorrow, see what I have to do different, see what I have to do to help my team win," Wade said. "And I will do it. I'm not really worried about that. Good win by Detroit to come in and get this first one, but we can play a lot better."
Wade was sensational in Miami's first two playoff sweeps over New Jersey and Washington, averaging 28.6 points, 8.4 assists and 6.6 rebounds in those eight games while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor.
"They have a good team defense, but I'm with Flash," Heat guard Keyon Dooling said, referring to Wade by his nickname. "I think he's going to bounce back and have a spectacular game."
Wade had decent numbers in three meetings with the Pistons: 17.7 points, 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds. But most of those stats came in a triple-double performance -- 31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists -- in Detroit on Dec. 30, when the Heat won 89-78.
Their next regular-season meeting was much different: In Miami on April 10, with Shaquille O'Neal sidelined by a stomach ailment, Wade was limited to five points in 21 foul-filled minutes.
And on Monday, with the Pistons' long-armed stalwart defender Tayshaun Prince shadowing Wade's every move and the likes of Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess swarming the basket, he was quieted again.
"A lot of those looks that he's used to getting were a little tougher," Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said. "They had a hand in his face. And once he got by Tayshaun, he met our second line of defense. Ben and Rasheed and Dyess, they just help so much. ... We're not going to try to let him get comfortable."
Wade's eight straight misses came in the second quarter. His only basket of that period came with 15.3 seconds left, when he darted past Billups across the lane and made an acrobatic, leaning-back shot to give Miami a short-lived, one-point lead.
He scored on a drive to end a 10-0 Detroit run, but the Pistons wouldn't trail again.
Miami was behind by 14 points in the third quarter and then rallied to tie it at 80 with 5:11 left.
The comeback, however, was in vain. With the Heat trailing 82-81, Wade missed a 20-footer from the right wing with 4:01 remaining.
Miami wouldn't score again, and when it was over, all Wade could do was bow his head slightly and saunter to the locker room.
"It's going to turn around for him," Heat guard Eddie Jones said. "He doesn't need to worry about anything. He's going to be back Wednesday night, stronger than ever. We don't worry about anything. So he missed a few shots. It's OK."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press