It's good to have Dwyane Wade back.
The three-time NBA champion tore the New York Knicks apart Sunday evening in his first game back from a seven-game absence due to a hamstring injury. Wade scored 13 points in the fourth quarter on a nearly perfect 6-of-7 shooting from the field, staving off the Knicks. He made a jumper despite getting fouled after one of his patented pump-fake moves and proceeded to continue living off of his mid-range game. Wade even grabbed a rebound away from Iman Shumpert after a Shabazz Napier miss and made an easy layup.
Wade's last field goal put the Heat up 10 with 3:34 left to go. And after a quick 8-0 Knicks run to get back in the game, Wade found an open Chris Bosh for 3 to put Miami up 5 with 1:07 left. The Heat held on to win 86-79 and improve to 9-7 on the season.
The best player in Heat history finished with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field, five rebounds and five assists. Wade was reminiscent of his 2008-10 peak years in the fourth quarter, sinking jumper after jumper in the clutch to lead Miami to victory. Although Miami had by no means a good offensive night, just having Wade out there helps open more options for the Heat. He acted as a facilitator earlier in the game, making the extra pass when he had a good look. The one blemish from Wade were his seven turnovers -- nearly half of the Heat's total. He grew visibly upset with Luol Deng after two errant passes intended for the small forward.
In addition to the clutch 3-pointer, Bosh put up 20 points and nine rebounds in a game Miami led wire-to-wire. He shot 7-of-18 from the field; he had some nice moves, like an up-and-under in the second quarter on a drive to the basket to elude help defense from Carmelo Anthony. But other times, Bosh would settle for a jumper against a smaller defender, including a set play for him out of a timeout with two minutes left that gave him a mis-match. At times, Bosh also struggled to defend Amar'e Stoudemire, giving him position in the paint too close to the basket. Stoudemire finished with 19 points and 12 boards.
Like Stoudemire, Deng also finished with a double-double. He shot just 2-of-11 from the field, but made six free throws on his way to 10 points and 10 rebounds. Deng acted as the primary defender on Carmelo Anthony, who returned from a two-game absence with back spasms. Although Anthony had 31 points, Deng played good positional defense and made several good reads for steals, forcing him into an 11-for-26 shooting night from the field. James Ennis and Josh McRoberts added good second-quarter stints.
One downside for all Heat players were missed free throws; the team missed 12 open gimmies. Wade, Bosh and Deng missed eight collectively. The Heat players could have had a much bigger cushion throughout the game if they just made their free throws.
The Heat will fly to Washington tonight to face the division-leading Wizards at 7 p.m. tomorrow.