Dwyane Wade became a champion in Dallas on June 20, 2006 — in just his third year in the league. His last game in the American Airlines Center 13 years later didn’t disappoint.
Wade scored a team-high 22 points off the bench for Miami, leading the Heat to a 112-101 victory over the Mavericks. As he’s often done this season, the 2006 NBA Finals MVP went to patented moves that have earned him points over his illustrious career. Wade’s first points came off a bank shot, which he did repeatedly in the 2006 NBA Finals. His second shot was a step-back 3 with Dirk Nowitzki in his face.
Wade shot 9-of-14 from the field, mostly playing to his strengths with his floaters in the lane. He even went to his post game in the second quarter in a trip that earned him a three-point play. Wade and Nowitzki both checked into the game at the same time, drawing a standing ovation from the Mavericks fans. Dallas fans booed Wade whenever he touched the ball in the first half, but Wade fans were well represented in the crowd. Fans even chanted “We want Wade!” in the closing moments of the game, with Wade on the bench.
Both teams went on runs in this game. One baffling 15-0 Mavericks run in the second quarter featured Josh Richardson turning the ball over by stepping over the baseline after a made basket and a Heat breakdown off a Tim Hardaway Jr. missed free throw. But back-to-back 3-pointers from Kelly Olynyk restored order for Miami.
The Heat imposed their will on the Mavericks with a 32-16 third quarter, playing solid defense and manufacturing easy shots on the other end of the floor. Overall, the Mavericks shot just 38.6 perent from the field, and Dallas was just 4-for-22 (18 percent) in the third. Dion Waiters also had some good moments in that quarter, including a nice dish to Wade.
Waiters breaking down Dallas' defense in the third quarter with seven points and two assists, including this one to Wade: pic.twitter.com/pbmLbUi0al— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) February 14, 2019
The Heat also only took care of the basketball in the third quarter. Several Heat mishaps in the first half kept Dallas in the game, and the Mavericks crept back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter thanks to Heat turnovers. Thankfully, a few big shots from James Johnson and Waiters kept the game from getting too close.
Justise Winslow chipped in with a solid overall game, finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Winslow made a number of nifty passes in traffic to players in the paint for easy scores, particularly early in the game. His decision-making ability has matured significantly from the beginning of the year. Winslow still needs to refine his offensive skill-set — he missed a floater against a smaller defender in the third quarter, the type of play Wade has mastered — but tonight was another nice performance from Winslow.
Another great feed by Winslow. He leads Miami with three assists thus far. pic.twitter.com/1bbKs9Tr9u— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) February 14, 2019
Patient play from Winslow, the sort that usually takes players a few years to figure out. pic.twitter.com/0h3o9WdMcB— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) February 14, 2019
After a tough road trip that featured a blown 17-point lead to the Sacramento Kings and a two-point loss to the Golden State Warriors, this win was necessary going into the All Star break. And thanks to the Detroit Pistons’ loss, Miami gained a game on the Pistons for the eighth seed in the East. The Heat will need more performances like this one to make a playoff berth.