Although Dwyane Wade was not part of the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ run of three straight NBA Finals appearances, he’s here for the run at a fourth. And he’s observed some familiar struggles.
Wade referenced the 2013-14 Miami Heat team — the last of the Big Three coalitions — when discussing the current Cavs’ plight. Where that might scare some northeast Ohioans given that team’s fate, he provided some contrast as well.

“That last year in Miami when we went to the Finals, I don’t know how we made it,” Wade said Thursday, via ESPN. “As a team, we were kind of like this. It was worse, because it wasn’t new guys; it was guys who had been around each other four years in a row. Your jokes weren’t funny anymore to other guys, when you walked in it wasn’t a big smile any more. Guys were just over you. It’s like being in a bad marriage.”
LeBron James and Wade led the Heat to their fourth straight Finals appearance, but the San Antonio Spurs dominated the top-heavy team on what turned out to be its last legs. James left for Cleveland a month later, taking his unprecedented finals-qualifying talents (excepting the 1960s Boston Celtics in an eight-team NBA for much of that span) to his hometown and using a collection of new teammates as sidekicks.
Several sidekicks remain from all three finals teams — like Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert — but the Cavs are breaking in plenty of new players this season. And they’ve lost four in a row to plummet to 3-5. Only two East teams are worse.


The Cavs are not averse to drama during the James-2.0 stretch, but they are entering some oddly key regular-season games in November. James’ final Heat team started 4-3 before reeling off 10 straight wins. Wade didn’t guarantee that, but the 35-year-old guard believes the Cavs are better than what they’ve shown.
“With the new guys here, you’ve got guys that have never been [to the Finals], guys who are hungry,” Wade said. “Obviously, Isaiah (Thomas) is one of them, who’s out. [And there’s] Derrick (Rose) and guys who have never been. Hopefully we can eventually pull from that and everybody wants to see the other guys succeed and get to that pinnacle they got to.
“… We have to continue to understand that we’re going to get out of this together and this is going to be a distant memory at one point, but right now we’re in it. We have to figure it out, and I think we will.”

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