Though they missed some shots, Miami did a wonderful job sharing the ball to start, a credit to Dragic returning as floor general.
Dwyane Wade entered with 7:15 to go and was met to a huge round of much deserved applause. His impact was immediately felt as he orchestrated an effortless two man game with Bam Adebayo. Bam looked fantastic to start, throwing down oops and working the midrange.
They had some slip ups, but Miami’s first quarter was solid. They’d head into the second down just six.
The Heat didn’t stay down for long, with Kelly Olynyk getting them within striking distance and Derrick Jones Jr tying things up. Justise Winslow continued his strong play, shooting beautifully off some great passes from Wade.
Miami’s strong offense would lead to a 15-3 scoring run to take the lead, on the other end of the floor Derrick Jones Jr would use his leaping ability to have a small block party (it was very entertaining).
Miami would continue to build on their lead thanks to strong play by Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr.
I can’t give enough praise to Justise Winslow, he looked fantastic as he shot confidently drove the lane aggressively and set up his teammates (he had 14 points midway through the second).
The Lakers would battle back thanks to LeBron James, and get within striking distance, but Miami would hold on and head into the second half up three.
The Lakers and Heat both came out firing to start the third causing a flurry of lead changes (9 total for the quarter)
Though persistent, Josh Richardson struggled to get things going for the third game in a row. He was out of sync. I can’t help but wonder if he’s still injured or just slumping. It’s worth noting that Josh was atrocious to start last season before he picked it up.
The Heat office grew stagnant around the 6:30 mark, while the Lakers started to pick up steam.
Dwyane Wade would come in and change that scoring 4 quick points. The Heat and Lakers really started to go back and forth in the final minute of the third. The Heat reserves were excellent, but still they’d find themselves down one headed into the fourth.
Wade would do it all for Miami to start the fourth with some great buckets and defensive plays. The Heat were relentless, crashing the boards after every shot and looking hungry.
The Heat would regain the lead and build on it as Justise Winslow continued his offensive assault. (He set a career high in points)
The Lakers wouldn’t go easily though, with LeBron scoring some beautiful buckets. This would unfortunately wake up the Lakers as they went on an 11-2 run to steal back the lead.
Wade wouldn’t let Miami go quietly into the night, as he went to work scoring on a beautiful reverse layup and getting his teammates going. The real JRich would return and hit a huge three, but an avoidable Bam travel would cost the Heat.
Wade would guard LeBron in the final minute as their final battle came to a close. Wade had an opportunity to put things away with a three, but he’d miss and the Heat would foul LeBron and he’d sink his free throws to put them down three.
The Heat would have a chance to tie things up in the final seconds, but would come up short as LeBron would break the tie and win the final battle in the Wade/James series.
Still, this was a hard fought game and one that will be remembered for a long time.