As his re­tire­ment draws near, we rank guard’s top 10 Heat mo­ments

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Ira Win­der­man

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.

2.

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.

3.

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.

4.

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.

5.

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.

6.

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.

7.

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.

8.

First im­pres­sion

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.

9.

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.

10.

The re­turn

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.

AL DIAZ/MCT

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.

WILFREDO LEE/AP

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.

RON T. EN­NIS/MCT

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.

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