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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 05/18/2012

Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade struggles, erupts at Erik Spoelstra (updated)


Dwyane Wade had an uncharacteristically poor Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers. (Darron Cummings / AP)
Updated at 11:30 a.m., with Heat canceling practice and media availability

The Miami Heat, hyped, hurting and hobbling, were close to a complete meltdown Thursday night as they fell into a 2-1 hole in their playoff series with a blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Dwyane Wade, the NBA Finals MVP in 2006, did lose it momentarily. Frustrated after his first scoreless half in 95 postseason games, Wade yelled at Coach Erik Spoelstra during a third-quarter timeout after Spoelstra had called him out for missing a three-pointer and being late getting back on defense. Wade hollered “get out of my [expletive] face,” Spoelstra yelled at him and teammates moved Wade away. Afterward, Wade, who has been bothered by injuries, wasn’t talking about the incident.

“I don't even remember what y'all talking about,” Wade told reporters.

Spoelstra, trying to keep together a team that’s struggling without Chris Bosh, was more concerned with Sunday’s Game 4 against a Pacers team that’s surging and gaining confidence than with his words with Wade.

“That happens,” Spoelstra said. “Anybody that has been part of a team or has been a coach or been a player, you have no idea how often things like that happen. That was during a very emotional part of the game. We were getting our butt kicked. Those exchanges happen all the time during the course of an NBA season.

“'There's going to be a lot of times where guys say something, you don't like it. You get over it and you move on. We're all connected. Dwyane and I have been together for a long time, a long time. We've been through basically everything. A lot of different roles, a lot of different teams. That really is nothing. That is the least of our concern. That type of fire, shoot, that's good. That's the least of our concerns. Our concern is getting for Sunday.”

Something besides the Pacers and Roy Hibbert and Bosh’s injury has thrown Wade off. He missed eight of the last 15 games of the season and has been bothered by ankle, foot and knee injuries and dislocated his left index finger, too. Wade brushed concerns aside. “At this point of the season, no one is 100 percent. ... I guess I made history tonight,” he joked. “It was a bad night. There were a lot of reasons for it. ... We're not going to win a ballgame with Chris Bosh out and me scoring five points, obviously. There's frustration in that.”

Right now, the Pacers are meshing better as a team. If the Heat, who have cancelled practice and their media availability today, can’t come up with a solution to their problems and mismatches, they’ll face another long summer of questions and doubt after failing in another championship-or-bust season. Already speculation is growing about whether Pat Riley might break up the Big Three if that happens. Someone not named LeBron James could well be leaving South Beach.

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By  |  10:42 AM ET, 05/18/2012

 
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