Miami close in on third finals series in a row as Dwyane Wade battles to be fit.
The Miami Heat are just 48 minutes away from their third consecutive trip to the NBA finals as they travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers in game six.
After his MVP performance in the fifth game of the Eastern Conference finals, LeBron James is again the focus point for the Pacers, and simply how can they slow him down.
Dwyane Wade, however, has been slowed down, but not by anything the Pacers have done on defence as his ailing knees limit his ability at both ends of the floor.
Normally the subject of Wade’s has been off limits, but after Game Five where he was clearly limited, the All-Star guard has opened up.
“Very tough, but I can’t sit at home,” Wade said in response to being asked how hard it was to play through the pain.
“I have to come in and I have to do what I can every day and every night to help my team win.
“My other thing is I can tell him I give you everything I got, and that’s all I can do.
“Me being on the floor, me being out there, obviously everyone looks at scoring ‑ and the other two. I would love to score 20 or 30 a night. Everyone looks every game just how many points I put up, and that determines my success. That don’t really determine my success on this team every night. We understand that.
“So I go out there some nights and I do ‑ even when I was feeling great, I did what I need to do for my team to win a game.
“That’s the reason I’m here. Tomorrow is a night if I’m feeling better and I can go for more points, I’ll try to be aggressive.
“But if it’s a game I have to make plays for other guys to get shots and give up myself, that’s what I do.”
If the Heat are to win Game Six and book their spot to face San Antonio, they will be the first team since the Los Angeles Lakers to play in three finals-in-a-row, after they performed the feat from 2008-2010.
In a good sign for Miami, James is 17-7 for his career in playoff close-out games and he has won the last six on the trot.