As his retirement draws near, we rank guard’s top 10 Heat moments
With his retirement days or weeks away — depending on the playoffs — Dwyane Wade is set to play in his final regular-season home game on Tuesday night. Heat beat writer Ira Winderman ranks the star guard’s top 10 Miami Heat moments during his 16-year NBA career.
1. 2006 NBA Finals, Game 3 Trailing 89-76 with 6:34 to play at American-Airlines Arena and the Heat facing an 0-3 deficit in the bestof-seven series against the Mavericks, Wade tells coach Pat Riley, “I ain’t going out like this.” And then Wade to the rescue, scoring 12 of the Heat’s final 20 points in a 42-point, 13-rebound effort in the 98-96 win on June 13, 2006. Three games later, the franchise had its first NBA championship, with Wade averaging 34.7 points over the six games.
2004 first round, Game 1
In his first playoff game on April 18, 2004, with the score tied at 79 with 11 seconds to play, Wade takes an inbounds pass beyond the arc, throws a crossover dribble at Baron Davis and attacks the Hornets defense. Winner. The Heat win the opener of the best-of-seven series and eventually the series itself. All the while, even as a rookie, a playoff legend is born.
This is his house
It is a phrase that would come to be repeated several times going forward, “This is my house!” But it was on March 9, 2009, when, with six seconds left in the second overtime, Wade stole the ball from Chicago’s John Salmons and converted a running floater from 24 feet for the victory, immediately jumping on the broadcast table and letting everyone know exactly whose house AmericanAirlines Arena was and would be going forward. The shot culminated a 48-point performance for the star guard.
Game 6, 2012 East semifinals
The series against the Pacers had been an uneven ride for Wade, including just five points in a Game 3 loss that dropped the Heat to a 2-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series. But by series’ end, there was little doubt about Wade’s resolve, closing out the series for the Heat with a 41-point, 10-rebound performance in Game 6 on May 24, 2012, an effort needed with Chris Bosh sidelined earlier in the series. The Heat would go on to win the first of their two Big Three championships that postseason.
2008 Olympic gold The Heat were coming off a 15-67 season and Wade a pair of injury-plagued years. The doubt was to the point
where Wade had to lobby for his spot with the national team. Then came resurrection, as a catalyst to Mike Krzyzewski’s team of AllStars. Many point to this as the planting of the seed with LeBron James and Chris Bosh for what would become the formation of the Heat’s championship Big Three.
The drive to 55
If not pulled with one minute remaining just one point shy of Glen Rice’s franchise record on April 12, 2009, against the Knicks, the milestone would have been Wade’s. But when the 50-point mark is reached before the start of the fourth quarter and the 55 are achieved with 5 minutes still to play, there is only so much work required.
2010 All-Star Game
On the biggest stage — at least in terms of attendance — in NBA history, Wade closes the 2010 All-Star Game with 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting, 11 assists, six rebounds, five steals and was named Most Valuable Player in front of an announced attendance of 108,000 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Technically, this wasn’t an NBA moment. But to Pat Riley, it was. As legend goes, then-Heat coach Riley was working out on a treadmill while watching Marquette defeat Kentucky 83-69 on March 29, 2003, in the Midwest Regional final of the NCAA Tournament. That’s when the fascination took hold with the Marquette guard who would close with 29 points
and 11 assists in the victory. Two months later, Wade would go to the Heat at No. 5 in the NBA draft.
17 in a row
Yes, it was just a regular-season game, but this Feb. 12, 2006, victory was against heated rival Detroit, the team the Heat would need to push past for what would turn into the franchise’s first championship that season. So there was Wade, scoring the Heat’s final 17 points, including a game-winning
16-footer with 2.3 seconds to play in the 100-98 decision. Wade would close with 37 points, rallying the Heat from a 90-83 deficit with 4 1⁄2 minutes to play.
A day after being acquired from the Cavaliers at the trading deadline,
and 1 1⁄2 seasons after leaving the Heat, the only team he had known for his first 13 NBA seasons, Wade makes a triumphant return to American-Airlines Arena in a 91-85 victory over the Bucks on Feb. 9. 2018, coming up with a critical late steal. It is the start of a closing run culminating with this “One Last Dance” retirement season.
No. 4: Dwyane Wade goes up against the the Indiana Pacers’ Roy Hibbert in the first quarter in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on May 24, 2012.
No. 6: Wade goes up strong for a shot between New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson, left, and forward Wilson Chandler during the fourth quarter on April 12, 2009, in Miami. Wade scored 55 points.
No. 7: Wade shows off his MVP trophy after the East won the NBA All-Star Game before an announced attendance of 108,000 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Feb. 14, 2010.