Photos of Dwyane Wade, who signed with the Bulls after a 13-year run with the Heat.

Shortly after he read Aaron Brooks’ cross-court pass, turned on his afterburners to track down his deflection and finished the pretty play with a game-clinching dunk, Dwyane Wade took to social media to poke fun at himself.

When you don’t get as high as you use to on your dunks. It’s what you do after the dunk that makes it look better. Haha. Great team win tonite. #letsbuild

Then Wade posted a photo of him hanging on the rim, a look of celebration and fierceness etched on his face as he sealed the Bulls’ 90-85 victory over the Pacers on Monday.

If one let the mind wander — and replaced the Bulls jersey with a Heat one — it was easy to think of the "Flash"-era Wade. You remember that guy: He dunked and drove his way to a league-leading 30.2 points per game in 2008-09 and never averaged less than 24 from 2004 to 2010.

But Wade knows. He understands Father Time remains undefeated. And the calendar flips to his 35th birthday next month.

That calendar also includes the month of April. And that’s when Wade knows he needs to be at his best — if the Bulls make the playoffs.

"I know some nights I’m going to have to push it, but we’ve done a good job of not overplaying me throughout," Wade said. "Because there are certain moments where I just don’t need to be out there.

"If I’m running up and down the court for five or six minutes just corner to corner, I’m OK. We can have Doug (McDermott) or one of them come in and do that. I want my minutes to be meaningful. It’s just been constant communication with Coach (Fred Hoiberg) all year."

That communication led to Wade playing the entire fourth quarter Monday for the first time this season. He not only delivered the game-clinching steal and dunk, but also scored on a vintage baseline jumper over Paul George with 2 minutes, 29 seconds left as part of his game-high 21 points.

"That’s just an in-game thing," Wade said of playing the entire quarter. "I love Coach. He listens to me. He looked at me and I was like, ‘No.’ It worked out well. I’ve been trying to watch my minutes as they crept up earlier in the season."

At his introductory news conference in July, Wade acknowledged he didn’t embrace Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s idea to drop his regular-season playing time to the 30-minute range in 2014-15. Wade came on board last season, playing a career-low 30.5 minutes but appearing in 74 games, his most since 2010-11.

He then upped his playing time to 33.8 minutes per game in a turn-back-the-clock performance over 14 postseason games for the Heat.

"My body felt great," Wade said of last April. "I felt during the season I could’ve played more, but it’s a long season. And coach did a good job last year maintaining it for me because as a player, you want to be out there. I understand that now and that’s why I’ve been maintaining myself. It’s a long season ahead of us."

Monday marked the fifth set of back-to-back games Wade has completed. He has rested in the second game twice and is averaging 30.8 minutes.

As for that self-maintenance, Wade woke up Monday morning and surprised his wife.

"It’s funny," he said. "I woke up and did my own treatment on myself. My wife was laughing at me."

By day’s end, Wade was laughing at himself on social media. In between those moments were others that helped the Bulls win a critical game.

Twitter @kcjhoop

This article was sourced from http://centralsportsnews.com