The NBA: Where Dwyane Wade Happens

Dwyane Wade pulled the Heat out from the cold again.
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

For the second straight time, the Miami Heat turned to Dwyane Wade to bail them out. And he delivered again. It kinda sucks because it means Miami is 4-0, but it also means that, despite his monstrous numbers, LeBron James still plays second-fiddle to Wade, at least in the clutch. They’ll probably repeat over Charlotte then get a tough test against Atlanta next. In other fronts, Boston, Dallas, Memphis, Phoenix and Utah all finally barged into the win column, while the Pistons, Wizards and T-Wolves all remain winless. More impressive, though, is how both the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks have quietly built some momentum. Both teams are 3-0. Indiana is half a game ahead of Chicago in the Central Division, while Atlanta is just half a game behind the Heat in the Southeast. Paul George, Ty Hansbrough & Roy Hibbert have been great complements to Danny Granger & David West, while Marvin Williams is looking like the fourth big piece he was supposed to be in seasons past.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

BOS over DET, 96-85 – Boston finally breaks through as Paul Pierce finally returns.
IND over CLE, 98-91 – Roy Hibbert’s double-double tows Indiana to a 3-0 slate.
ORL over CHA, 100-79 – Another example of why Dwight Howard is the world’s best center.
ATL over NJN, 105-98 – Jeff Teague outplays D-Will, Hawks win. Simple as that.
PHX over NOH, 93-78 – Marcin Gortat’s solid presence and Hakim Warrick stepping up gave Phoenix its maiden victory.
MEM over HOU, 113-93 – When Zebo and Gasol are both clicking down low, hardly anyone can stop the Grizz.
MIA over MIN, 103-101 – Ricky Rubio’s great game was dampened by Dwyane Wade’s game-winning heroics.
DAL over TOR – Ian Mahinmi was a revelation with 19 points, but can he step up and become what Tyson Chandler was last year?
MIL over WAS, 102-81 – The foreigner trio of Bogut, Ilyasova and Delfino effectively outshot the Wizards for win #2.
UTA over PHI, 102-99 – With 22 points and 11 rebounds, could this be the breakout game Derrick Favors needs?
CHI over LAC, 114-101 – D-Rose and the Bulls reminded Blake and the Clips that title contenders are still a cut above playoff contenders.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
LeBron James (MIA) & Blake Griffin (LAC) – 34
Andrea Bargnani (TOR) – 30
Derrick Rose (CHI) – 29
Kevin Love (MIN) – 25

Blake Griffin's 34 points tied for highest of the night.
(image by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 24
Channing Frye (PHX) & Emeka Okafor (NOH) – 16
Andrew Bogut (MIL) – 15
Paul Millsap (UTA) – 14

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Derrick Rose (CHI) – 16
Chris Paul (LAC) – 14
Ricky Rubio (MIN) & Steve Nash (PHX) – 12
LeBron James (MIA) – 10

Derrick Rose outplayed CP3 as the Bulls notched win #3.
(image from the AP)

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
LeBron James (MIA), Chris Paul (LAC), Kyle Lowry (HOU), Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) & Grant Hill (PHX) - 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Marc Gasol (MEM) – 5
Dwight Howard (ORL) & Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 4

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Ryan Anderson (ORL) – 5

Dec. 30, 2011 First Five
C – Dwight Howard (ORL) – 20pts, 24rebs, 4asts, 4blks & 1stl
F – Zach Randolph (MEM) – 23pts, 9rebs, 3asts & 3stls
F – Blake Griffin (LAC) – 34pts, 13rebs, 3asts & 1stl
G – LeBron James (MIA) – 34pts, 10asts, 8rebs, 4stls & 1blk
G – Derrick Rose (CHI) – 29pts, 16asts, 8rebs, 3 triples & 1stl

Zach Randolph's strong play against Houston lands him
among the night's top 5 performers.
(image from the AP)

Honorable Mention:
Andrea Bargnani (TOR) – 30pts, 7rebs, 1ast & 1blk
Greg Monroe (DET) – 22pts, 9rebs, 4asts & 1stl
Marc Gasol (MEM) – 20pts, 8rebs, 5blks, 3stls & 1ast

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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