Wade’s old magic was the difference
He drove hard down the lane midway through the first quarter, drove into the Philadelphia defense on the kind of night no one thought he would have, the kind no one was sure he even could have anymore.
Dwyane Wade then put up a floater right off some old highlight reel of 2006 or 2011. When it went in, that started something no one could be even sure was started in the Heat’s 113-103 win in Game 2 Monday that tied this series at one game apiece.
Wade followed up that made shot by making a long jumper. And then he drove again for a layup. He made first seven shots on his way to 28 points this night and, somewhere in there, passed Larry Bird for 10th on the all-time playoff scoring mark.
That tells how long he’s been on the stage. This night showed what he can still do on it, right to the blessed end, when with the Heat starting to fade and Philadelphia grabbing the night, Wade grabbed it right back for the Heat.
With a double-digit lead down to two points, Wade knocked a ball free on defense, ran like a wide receiver for a catch and breakaway dunk. He then passed to James Johnson, free at the rim, for another basket. The Heat led 102-96 now.
He next grabbed an offensive rebound, threw it to Goran Dragic for a short jumper. It was 104-96 now and the Heat had found their footing again thanks to him.
He then applied the dagger, a long jumper in the final minute that made it 106-98. That tells you what was at work this night. Everyone saw it, even if they felt they were in a Hot Tub Time Machine.
No, it wasn’t just Wade. Johnson and Wayne Ellington hit big shots. Justise Winslow played the kind of tough defense on Simmons that was missing in the opener. Goran Dragic was back to driving hard and scoring.
In so many ways, this Game 2 was the one that showed who the Heat are and who a talented Philadelphia still can be. The 76ers are still young. The Heat are still tough.
“These guys respond to challenges as well as any group I’ve been around,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said minutes before the game.
Wade is 36 now. He has been the Heat’s eighth or ninth player for a while. In one