This game was Wade's opportunity to make a case that he could be considered the best shooting guard in the league at this point of his career, and there was no better way to do so than to shine against the reigning best shooting guard, and arguably the best player period. The way the game started proved that Wade, despite his elite status, has a long way to go. Kobe started the game hot, Wade didn't; Kobe made things tough on the defensive end, Wade didn't. Kobe was calm and consistent throughout the whole game, Wade was sporadic and eventually lost his composure. It was a perfect case of student getting schooled, early and often by the tutor; the tutor in this case being Kobe. Kobe proved that even though he is in his 16th season, he was gonna hold his own against the 9th year veteran whom many claim to be the only competition Bryant has at the shooting guard position. Yesterday however, kobe made his own statement; that Wade was no competition.
Wade's inability to at least keep up with Bryant, in what was suppose to be a matchup of "Wade vs Kobe; the revenge of the All-star game foul" proved that Kobe was leaps and bounds ahead of Wade. I was disappointed that Wade allowed Kobe to get off to a hot start, I was disappointed that he let this hot start proceed to become a great game, I was disappointed that he let this frustration lead to him committing silly fouls, but more importantly, I was disappointed that he didn't go up to Coach Spolstera and demand to guard Kobe in the fourth quarter before fouling out. That to me showed that Wade was accepting that he couldn't in fact guard Kobe, and that he was willing to give up and let somebody else try. That to me was the ultimate victory for Kobe.
As Wade sat on the bench with a towel wrapped around his head and six fouls in the book, I bet he thought of all these things. The loss was more than just loss number 9 for the Miami Heat, it was an individual failure on Wade's part. The final score indicated that the heat lost by 10, but in terms of an individual matchup, it was much more than that. Kobe had gotten a revenge on Wade for that hard foul, and he didn't even need physical retaliation for that. He let his game do the talking, and it sure did say a lot. It proved that Wade was not quite on Kobe's level yet, it proved that the Wade's mental toughness was lacking a bit in comparison to that of Kobe's, it proved that despite Wade's great abilities as a help defender, he had a lot of improvement to do one-on-one, and finally it proved that the title as the best shooting guard in the league was quite possibly only gonna be passed down to Wade upon Kobe's retirement. Wade's reaction to this occurrence is what I'm interested to see. I hope he uses this as motivation to take his game to that Kobe Bryant level, because it evidently isn't quite there yet.