While James sizzles Wade generates Heat

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Wade publicly laughs off that talk, yet privately seethes about some of that criticism. While his scoring has dipped each year, so have his shots per game _ something that he knew would happen when he helped lure James and Chris Bosh to Miami in the summer of 2010.

Wade famously left a huge bit of salary _ about $17 million over the lifespan of his contract _ on the Heat bargaining table that summer, providing the team with flexibility to not only close the deals with James and Bosh but to add other players. James and Bosh also took less money than they would have been entitled to under the terms of the past collective bargaining agreement.

But Wade didn’t just sacrifice cash that summer. The way he sees it, he also sacrificed stats.

And if he’s the Robin to James‘ Batman right now, and the Heat are winning, then Wade’s fine with that arrangement.

“It takes pressure off all of us,” Wade said. “Obviously, Chris, myself and all these guys, we’ve played without a guy like that before and we’ve done pretty good. But when he’s playing the way he is, it makes our job a little easier. And vice versa _ when we’re playing the way we are, it makes his job a little easier. So we all work for each other.”

James is getting almost all the attention right now, and that’s certainly deserved.

Still, to him, the notion that Wade is an afterthought in Miami now is downright comical.

“You guys overlook him,” said James, the NBA’s reigning MVP and a likely favorite to win that trophy for a fourth time this season. “We understand how great he is, how much he means to our team. He just goes out and plays the game that he loves and continues to dominate the way he has of late. He’s a big part of our team. We can’t win without him.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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