With 20 seconds left in the Miami Heat’s Sunday matchup against the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell missed a driving layup attempt to break a 100-100 tie. Justise Winslow grabbed the rebound, and shoveled the ball to Dwyane Wade. The Heat didn’t call a timeout.
Wade drove to the basket and drew a foul on Rudy Gobert with 3.2 seconds left. With “MVP!” chants roaring from the crowd, the three-time NBA champion made both free throws. Mitchell missed a 3-point shot on the other end of the court, and the Heat won their second consecutive game to improve to 9-13 on the season.
This game was full of contradictions. Miami fell behind by 19 points in the first quarter, only to go on a 20-0 run to make up the entire deficit in the second quarter. The second half was much more competitive, with the game ending with 16 ties and 17 lead changes.
The Heat came into this game with only 10 available players. Rodney McGruder left in the first quarter with a right ankle sprain and did not return. That meant the Heat had only nine available players for nearly the entire game — backcourt players Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson and McGruder were all unavailable. Erik Spoelstra started Winslow in place of McGruder in the second half.
The Heat thin backcourt made do. In addition to hitting the game-winning free throws, Wade had eight assists and contributed 15 points overall in the effort. Wade took a few ill-advised shots, but was best when he found players like Kelly Olynyk and Hassan Whiteside for easy looks. He was active on both ends of the floor, as evidenced by this play.
D-Wade still going all out in his 16th season pic.twitter.com/AfVIvBKO9h— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 3, 2018
Speaking of Whiteside, the Heat starter put together arguably his best game of the season. Whiteside finished with 23 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field, 20 rebounds and three blocks. The 7-footer from Gastonia, North Carolina made a series of easy shots around the basket, like this and-one opportunity.
On the other hand, Whiteside shot just 1-for-6 from the foul line. Whiteside has had a dismal streak at the free-throw line lately — in recent games, he’s even air-balled a couple free throws. Tonight, Whiteside wasn’t able to convert on and-one opportunities because of his poor foul shooting.
Olynyk added 16 points off the bench for Miami. He made three huge 3-pointers and grabbed eight rebounds on the night. Olynyk was an integral part of the Heat’s 20-0 run in the second quarter — their longest run of the season.
Wayne Ellington made four 3-pointers, including two in the decisive fourth quarter. And James Johnson, who has not played nearly as aggressively as he has the last two seasons since returning from his injury, looked more like himself Sunday night. The Heat captain had nine points on 4-of-10 shooting and two assists. Spoelstra continued to play Winslow in his crunch-time lineup, but Johnson will start competing for those minutes if he builds off his performance tonight.
The Heat will host the Orlando Magic Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.