After the Philadelphia 76ers buried them beneath a barrage of second-half 3-pointers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, the Miami Heat entered Monday’s Game 2 knowing they needed something special to earn a split at Wells Fargo Center so they could head back to South Beach with home-court advantage and a puncher’s chance to upset the favored young Sixers. They got it, in the form of a bit of turn-back-the-clock brilliance from Dwyane Wade.
Wade stunned the NBA world when he left Miami in free agency two summers ago, before making his way back to Florida in February following pit stops in Chicago and Cleveland. He’s had to undergo a bit of recalibration in his second tour of duty for the Heat; he remains a franchise icon, a three-time NBA champion and former NBA Finals MVP, but on this iteration of Erik Spoelstra’s club, he’s a backup ball-handler and creator, a rotation cog who barely play 20 minutes a night.
On Monday in Philadelphia, though, he was once again every ounce The Man, pouring in a game-high 28 points in 26 minutes to leave the Sixers reeling and lead the Heat to a
With the win, the Heat knotted the best-of-seven set at one game apiece, with the setting about to shift to AmericanAirlines Arena in Florida for Game 3 on Thursday. After handing the Sixers their first loss since March 13, Miami now holds home-court advantage thanks in large part to the 36-year-old Wade, who was unconscious from midrange in the pivotal second quarter, and who came up with a series of huge plays to close the door late.
Most notably: Wade drilled a dagger side-step jumper right in the face of rising Sixers star Ben Simmons to give Miami an eight-point lead with 45.9 seconds remaining …
… and close out the
Wade led six Heat players in double figures in the win. Goran Dragic bounced back from a quiet Game 1 and fought through early foul trouble to finish with 20 points, four rebounds and three assists in 25 1/2 minutes of floor time … and the Sixers didn’t much care for the last two he piled up in the closing seconds of a decided game:
James Johnson struggled at times to corral the 6-foot-10 Simmons — especially in the second half, when the Rookie of the Year contender scored 15 of 24 points and dished five of his eight assists. But he did yeoman’s work all over the court on Monday, scoring 18 points on perfect 7-for-7 shooting to go with seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block in the win.
Wings Josh Richardson (14 points, five rebounds, three assists, three blocks) and Justise Winslow (two points, three rebounds, some dogged and physical defense on Simmons) also made their presence felt for Spoelstra’s club, which got blown off the court in the second half of Game 1 and knew they needed to ratchet up the level of physicality and defensive intensity to change the state of play in Game 2. Mission accomplished.
The Heat absolutely suffocated Philadelphia in the second quarter, limiting the hosts to 13 points on 4-for-21 shooting in the frame to take over the game, and continually harassing Sixers shooters and ball-handlers at the 3-point arc. In Game 1, Philly went 18-for-28 from 3-point land; in Game 2, they went 7-for-36.
nce to win it late. As Miami’s offense stagnated, Philly’s beg