Published June 15, 2013
SAN ANTONIO – From time to time, Dwyane Wade will still extend his arms toward a referee in exasperation after not getting a foul call that he thought he earned.
He's tried to do it less this season, for three reasons.
The Miami Heat guard has gotten criticized at times throughout his career over how often he complains about calls on the court, though when he saw it spilling into real life, he knew he had to make a change. The spark was when he saw one of his sons complaining to a referee during a youth-league game, a display that left Wade pointing the finger of blame at himself.
"I'm a role model for Zaire Wade and Zion Wade and Dahveon Morris," Wade said, listing his two sons and the nephew he's raising. "So I go to their games and I hate, I hate, to see them talking back to the ref. I hate it. It burns me up inside every time. I'm like, 'Get back on defense.' And then I look in the mirror and say, 'Well, how can you tell him not to do something when you're doing it?' I look at that and I think that's helped me understand."
Sunday is Game 5 of the NBA Finals. It's also Father's Day, a particularly special day for Wade. His long struggle for single custody of his children was well-chronicled, and the book he wrote that was released last year revolved largely around the relationships he has with the boys in his life.
The kids, he said, are growing up fast. His oldest son started AAU travel tournaments earlier this year. And while all three kids have different personalities, they're each picking up certain tendencies from the man of the house.
So he's simply trying to be the best he can, on the court and off. He only picked up four technicals during this regular season, way down from his career-worst 12 from two seasons ago.
"When have the things in your life, when you feel complete in your life, you just don't stress about a lot of stuff," Wade said. "A lot of stuff now, I'm not angry. But besides that, I'm a role model. ... I can't tell my son to do something if I'm not leading by example. So I'm trying to be better at it."
GREEN'S 3s when he was playing for the Boston Celtics, Ray Allen set the record for most 3-pointers in an NBA Finals, connecting 22 times from beyond the arc in 2008.
His mark is in jeopardy.
San Antonio's Danny Green has 19 3-pointers already in this Spurs-Heat series, meaning he's on pace to smash the numbers set by Allen, now a reserve Miami guard.
Asked if he was aware of his proximity to the mark on Saturday, Green wanted no part of the conversation.
"No," Green said. "And I don't want to be aware. So thanks."
IN THE MOMENT: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was locked in on Game 5 of the finals on Saturday, and apparently wasn't all that enthused about taking questions on any other topic.
Or really, any topic.
He was asked eight questions in his post-practice news conference, according to the transcript provided by the NBA, and his average answer was just over 11 words. The final queries directed to Popovich were related to how some teams are preferring to field smaller, more athletic rosters.
"I only care about what's going on right now in this series," Popovich said. "I'm not concerned about trends in the NBA."
CHESS MATCH?: Heat guard Mike Miller calls what's going on with the various brain trusts for Miami and San Antonio "a slight chess match."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra doesn't even think it's a slight one.
Much of the talk at practice on Saturday revolved around how Spurs coach Gregg Popovich may respond to the move Miami made in Game 4, when Spoelstra inserted Miller into Miami's starting lineup.
Miller said it would be foolish to think that Popovich won't come up with something.
"Listen, this isn't Pop's first rodeo," Miller said. "He's going to make the adjustments he feels he needs to make. If he goes big or small, right now it's a slight chess match, but at the same time, when the ball tips it's all about the effort on the court, executing and making plays."
Spoelstra said the mind games simply come with the territory.
"That's just part of playoff basketball for teams," Spoelstra said. "The most important thing is to understand that you're not playing chess; it's a basketball game. Can you win the competitive skirmishes in the game? That's the most important thing for us. Yes, you do have to make adjustments, as any playoff series goes on. If you play against the same team, doing the same things, that's not always going to work both ways."
NOTES: Sunday is the 51st and final road game for the Heat this season, including playoffs. They're 35-15 so far away from Miami, which is a better win total than 12 teams posted in both home and away games this season. ... The series is about as close to even as possible, despite three of the first four games being total blowouts. Cumulative score so far in these NBA Finals: San Antonio 382, Miami 377. ... If he plays in Game 5 of the finals, Miami's Ray Allen will be appearing in his 100th game of the season. Heat guard Norris Cole would be appearing in his 101st, passing Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough for the outright games-played lead this season.