When Dwyane Wade drove past Justise Winslow and made an and-one in the first quarter of his first game against the team he spent 13 seasons with, he pointed to the crowd. And most of the fans cheered. When Wade stepped up to the foul line with 13 seconds left in the game, some fans booed.
The changing tune from the fans didn’t bother the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Wade knocked down both free throws, icing the game against the Miami Heat.
Miami played their best game in some time, but suffered their third straight loss and fell to 2-5 on the season in a 98-95 decision Thursday night. Wade received a hero’s welcome in his adopted home, getting a standing ovation before the game.
For Miami, the problems were familiar. The Heat’s offense sputtered for significant portions of the second half, and Goran Dragic’s sprained left ankle injury in the third quarter didn’t help. Miami made some nice plays late — two Josh Richardson 3s in the last 1:36 of the game that came off nice action and kept the Heat in the game — but trailed for the last 10 minutes of a competitive game.
The Heat actually knocked down 13 3-pointers Thursday night, a welcome sign for a team that has struggled offensively this season. But Miami will need a more varied, more dynamic offense if they are going to turn this season around.
After enduring a shooting slump to start the season, Winslow made three 3-pointers in the first half. Winslow also admirably defended Wade, who shot just 5-of-17 from the field against his former team. The second-year small forward made a nice drive to the basket for a layup with 1:10 left to pull Miami to within one.
But Winslow is not the explosive scorer who can serve as the centerpiece of a team, even a young up-and-coming one. He had 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, which is a good game for a developing player like Winslow. Waiters should have shot better than 6-for-15. Before he got hurt, Dragic didn’t play well Thursday night.
To talk about a positive from the night, Hassan Whiteside notched a 20-point, 20-rebound night in 36 minutes. The Heat center also blocked three shots and shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line. But on one key possession — with two minutes left in the game and Miami down four — Chicago got four field goal attempts up before Robin Lopez finally made a layup to put the Bulls up six. Those rebounds late in a close game are key.
Josh Richardson added 16 points off the bench on 6-of-13 shooting. Richardson made four 3s on the night, and it’s good to see him playing well for the Heat. His presence adds a nice element on both ends of the floor for Miami.
The Heat will try to get back on track Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Utah Jazz.