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Imagine You Are Dwyane Wade

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You're about to imagine you're Dwyane Wade.

Scratch that.

You're about to imagine experiencing something approximating the higher plane Dwyane Wade inhabits.

Breathe deeply through your nose. As you inhale, raise your arms over your head. As you exhale, bring your hands in front of you in the prayer pose. Repeat once more, slowly.

Turn your head to the left. See the defender clawing past your body at the basketball attached to your right hand's fingers. Now turn your head back to the right so it's facing straight ahead. The defender no longer exists. He is an ex-defender.

You're stepping past the free throw line, on your way to the basket. You see Rasheed Wallace coming from your left, stepping away from Jermaine O'Neal to try and cut off your path to the hoop. So you make a sharp cut right, then immediately leap, forcing your momentum at the right edge of the backboard. Sheed can't go through the rim, so he jumps to block your layup, but realizes partway through the jump that he's going to end up behind you.

All this takes fifteen seconds. Or, at least, it feels that way, because you're Dwyane Wade.

===

Everyone figured the Miami Heat would fight for a playoff spot, thinking that Beasley, Marion, and Wade would be enough to fend off the also-rans. But that didn't happen.

Marion is gone after failing to find himself all season. Beasley gets his minutes, but he still hasn't cracked the starting lineup. Instead, Dwyane Wade has produced a season for the ages, and will likely finish second in the MVP voting only because LeBron James produced a superhuman performance all season.

Raja Bell will be entrusted with containing Wade, the fifth straight game in which he's been tasked with stopping an All Star. He was absolutely up to the task of harassing Kobe, and he'll have to do something similar to stop Wade, although Kobe doesn't attack the rim nearly as much as Wade does. Defending Kobe is a study in short and quick movements that knock you off balance just long enough to get off a jumper. Defending Wade requires the ability to discourage him from driving the lane. Once he gets there, the refs will protect him, so make him take his threes. Nobody else on the Heat provides quite as serious a challenge.