Mike Krzyzewski wanted Dwyane Wade on the US team, just in case something ever happened to Kobe Bryant or LeBron James.
With James out on Friday night, Wade proved he is definitely back.
Wade stepped into the starting lineup and scored 20 points in his first action in more than four months, a 120-65 win over Canada.
“D-Wade is a warrior to anybody who knows him. He’s been rehabbing and he’s been working out probably more than anybody, just trying to get back in shape,” point guard Chris Paul said. “That’s D-Wade. We see it every day in practice and you saw it tonight, that he’s back. When he’s aggressive like that, we’re a dangerous team.”
James, the NBA’s leading scorer, missed the game because of a mildly sprained right ankle, but the Americans have plenty of offense without him. Carmelo Anthony and Michael Redd also finished with 20 points, and Bryant added 15.
The Americans made 16 of their first 20 shots and ended at 65.7 percent (44-of-67), getting plenty of layups and dunks at a sold out Thomas & Mack Center in their lone game on home soil before completing their Olympic preparations in Macau and China.
Canadian coach Leo Rautins called the Americans “obviously the most talented team, without a question, in the world.”
Wade was the sixth man on the Americans’ bronze medal team in the 2006 world championships, but sat out last summer following knee surgery.
His left knee continued to bother him, so the Miami Heat shut down their star for the season early in March.
He resumed working out in Chicago in time to prove to USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo that he was healthy enough to be picked for the Olympic squad.
Wade made a 3-pointer in the opening minutes and had no trouble driving to the basket, hitting his first five shots.
He threw down a dunk to put the Americans over the century mark with 7:25 remaining in the game, and finished 7-of-10.