Miami's Dwyane Wade is on the cusp of doing something he's never done.
In a year that started with questions about whether his skills and health were in serious decline, and during a season in which he's sat out 16 games largely because of a need to rest his knees, Wade is now shooting 55 percent this season.
Not only is that a career-best, but no guard in the NBA is shooting any better. Among players with enough games to qualify for the statistical ranking, no one else is currently within 4 percent of Wade's shooting pace this season.
Wade has never finished a season as the league's top-shooting guard — he finished last season, one-tenth of one percent behind San Antonio's Tony Parker, though as a small consolation Wade was on the team that beat Parker's in the NBA Finals. This season, Wade is well on his way to finishing in that top spot, helped Sunday by a 10-for-15 effort in Miami's win over Houston.
The Heat have been putting the ball in Wade's hands more during fourth quarters lately. While it's probably helping him gear up for the playoffs, it seems to be keeping LeBron James from finding his best late-game rhythm. James had five fourth-quarter baskets two weeks ago to cap his 61-point effort against Charlotte.
James has had five fourth-quarter field goals since. Total. In seven games.
But James insists that he'll find his stride again soon enough, and figures it's a good thing for his Heat teammates to get going. And if Wade, who shot 46 percent during the 2013 postseason while dealing with major knee issues, can come close to matching his regular-season percentage in the second season, that means Miami will be an even tougher out in a best-of-seven situation.
Here's five things to watch in the NBA this week:
POOR PHILLY: The Philadelphia 76ers' pursuit of the wrong side of history will continue. Losers of 20 straight — and somehow still 2½ games ahead of Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference standings — the 76ers play Chicago twice this week, plus New York and Indiana. During this 20-game slide, the 76ers have been outscored by 18.6 points per game. The NBA record for consecutive losses is 26. It is officially in jeopardy.