As the sea of panic starts to spread among Miami Heat fans, Dwyane Wade did not sooth any minds after Game 6 when he told reporters that he needed more touches in order to be successful. Wade said that it's not his bad knee or Chris Bosh's ankle that's causing two of the Heat's big three to struggle; instead, their production dipped dramatically because of lack of touches and shots.
"We've got to do a good job of making sure me and Chris have our opportunities to succeed throughout the game," Wade told ESPN reporters. "That's something we're going to have to look at as a team."
Wade has gotten only 19 shots combined over the last two games; in contrast, he averaged 15 shots per game for the first four games. In game 6, Wade had 10 points on 3-11 shooting from the floor. Bosh averaged only 7 shots a game over the last two, down from the 11 shots per game he got in the first four games of the series.
"We've got guys individually who want to play better," Wade said. "But we've got to try to help each other out in this locker room and not leave it up to the individual to self-will it."
There is no doubt that Wade is referring to James, perhaps accusing James of trying to do too much. Over the last two games, James's shots per game increased while his efficiency drastically decreased. He has taken 4 more shots per game while producing roughly the same amount of points. James, on the other hand, feels the need to be aggressive when his two star teammates are struggling.
"I mean, we can state the obvious; they're both struggling," James said of Wade and Bosh. "When you're struggling, the best thing to get is a layup or a dunk. [Wade] missed a couple of them ... Chris is struggling with his shot and him hurting his ankle didn't help."
Are Wade's complaints against LeBron legitimate?
Wade and Bosh's involvement in the offense has undoubtedly been reduced, but it is easy to see why James feels the need to shoulder the offensive load. In Game 6, both Wade and Bosh struggled from the field early. Wade missed some easy shots around the basket, and took long jump shots with plenty of time left on the shot clock. Bosh struggled to hit mid-range shots, shots he was knocking down with ease earlier in the series.
LeBron's lack of help from his teammates, and his obvious frustration in Game 6, led to talks of the Heat playing like LeBron's old Cleveland Cavaliers. While this Heat team is still much more talented than the Cavs were with LeBron, it is easy to see the connection: Plenty of missed opportunities, nobody taking charge offensively, a frustrated LeBron.
Is it possible, then, that the Heat's season will end as every Cavs season did? If the Heat does not pull through in Game 7, it is a very big possibility. Ditto if they lose in the Finals to the Spurs.
James cannot opt out of his contract until next offseason, the summer of 2014. But it is likely that if this season is deemed a failure, there will be a lot of pressure on the Heat to trade either Wade or Bosh.
Of course, if the Heat can put away the Pacers and beat the Spurs, all of this talk is for nothing. Nothing kills rumors as effectively as the Larry O'Brien trophy.