SAN ANTONIO — There have been times in these NBA Finals that Dwyane Wade has looked like the Dwyane Wade of old, attacking the rim, dropping the unblockable floater in the lane and jumpstarting the Miami Heat offense.
There have also been times during the finals when he's simply looked old, disappearing from the offense, clanking open jumpers and being thwarted on his drives to the basket.
Wade has gotten off to fast starts in each of the first three games only to hit a wall in the second half each time as the younger San Antonio Spurs defenders wore him down. The former finals MVP is averaging 11.7 points on 60 percent shooting in the first half of the finals, and just 2.7 points on 22 percent shooting in the second half.
Wade went scoreless for the entire second half of the Heat's Game 2 win and did not score at all in the fourth quarter of Game 1 as the Spurs rallied to win. In Game 3, Wade scored 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the first half, but managed just four points and missed six of his eight shots in the second half of the 113-77 loss.
"Nothing is changing," said Wade, whose Heat trailed the best-of-seven series 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Thursday night. "They are staying to their game. Obviously on my pick-and-rolls they go under. And that's pretty much it. Limiting my opportunities."
His balky right knee has been a problem for the entire playoffs, and it's no surprise that he seems to have more spring in his step early in games after having a pregame warmup. But Wade isn't about to use that as an excuse.
"If it is, I won't tell you," Wade said when asked if his knee was hampering him. "So that's a pointless question."
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING: When NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said on Wednesday that the league's Competition Committee was recommending that instant replay be expanded to include block/charge calls in late-game situations, some were worried that a potential change could add too much time to the games with so many extra replays.
But Jackson doesn't think it will have a significant impact. Referees can only review the block/charge call after they have called for a review to check and see if the defensive player's feet were in the restricted area, and only in the final two minutes of a game or in overtime.
Jackson said last season there were only five instances of replays being used to check if a player's feet were in the restricted area.
"It's simply a very narrow review that relates to the trigger you're going to see," Jackson said. "It's not like a (more common) out of bounds trigger."
Under the proposal, which has yet to be considered by the NBA's board of governors, if a referee calls for a review to check if a defender's feet were in the restricted area under the basket and determines they were not, the official can then look at the initial block/charge call itself to see if it was correct.
ICE MAN LAMENTS: George Gervin spent nearly all of his Hall of Fame career in San Antonio, playing with the Spurs both in the ABA and NBA from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.
He won four scoring titles, including three in a row from 1977-80, and became a beloved figure in the area thanks to his super-cool demeanor and the finger roll that became his calling card. But the "Ice Man" never won a championship.
Of course, he never played with Tim Duncan, either.
When asked how many rings he would've won if he the two had teamed together, Gervin replied with a smile, "I don't know. I know I would've won some. But it wasn't meant for me. I'm satisfied with that."
Gervin remains connected to the Spurs as the team's corporate responsibility representative, working with the team to reach out in the community. Most recently, he attended an NBA Cares event at a local middle school that celebrated the opening of a shiny new learning and play center.
"I'm glad to see, still being part of the organization, I still get (a ring)," Gervin said. "It's just that I ain't earned it like the way I would like to earn one."
SHAKE IT UP! Beyond being the NBA's best team in the regular season, the Miami Heat sure can dance.
The Heat's performance of the "Harlem Shake," viewed more than 45 million times on YouTube, was a winner in the 2013 NBA Social Media Awards.
The skit, filmed in the Heat's locker room, won the "OMG Award," going to the team with the best video shared via social media.
The awards were announced Wednesday night on NBA TV. Highlights are available at www.nba.com/sma.
Kobe Bryant was a two-time winner, earning the "Social Media MVP" for being the player with the most engagement among social media platforms. He also picked up the "140 Award" for the best tweet of the year, when he wrote "Amnesty THAT" after scoring 38 points to lead the Lakers to a victory in February over the Dallas Mavericks, whose owner Mark Cuban had hypothetically suggested that the Lakers could use the amnesty clause to waive Bryant and help their salary cap structure.
TRASH TALK: Sean Elliott spent 11 of his 12 NBA seasons with the Spurs and now serves as the team's color analyst for locally televised games. So he has had an up-close view of both the Spurs' first championship run, when he averaged 11.2 points per game in 1998-99, and this year's march to the finals.
Elliott's Spurs relied on the Twin Towers of Duncan and David Robinson, while the most recent version features a more wide-open style of play.
"Great collection of younger players and veteran players, but they'd have to take a backseat to my '99 team," Elliott said playfully. "We had a younger Timmy and Dave."