Dwyane Wade returns. Wade plays, and the Heat win ending a five-game losing streak.
Wade received a standing ovation when he entered the game off the bench in the first quarter in a regular season game that had the feeling of a playoff game because of the atmosphere.
However, it was teammates Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson who led the way to a 91-85 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks adding the icing to a celebratory night.
“He has a strong aura. When you are next to him you feel more comfortable,” Goran Dragic shared.
Oh yes. The hype is real. Wade scored three points on 1-of-6 shooting with two assists, one rebound, a valuable late block, and four turnovers in 22 minutes. He was acquired in a trade from Cleveland before the trade deadline the day before. Wade played 13 seasons and won three NBA championships with the Heat before leaving for Chicago as a free agent in 2016. Heat basketball is normal again.
“Just looking at my teammates, oh man this is crazy…the energy in here is great,” Wade stated.
Johnson scored 19 points, and Whiteside scored 12 points and had 16 rebounds. Bam Adebayo added 15 points and ten rebounds, and Josh Richardson chipped in 16 points for Miami, which received the jolt Wade hoped with his arrival.
“It is the most wonderful thing I think I have been through in my 23 years with the Heat,” Heat President Pat Riley stated.
All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Bucks, who lost for just the second time in nine games under interim head coach Joe Prunty.
Milwaukee was able to cut the deficit to 85-78 with 1:28 left. “We want Wade” chants echoed in the closing minutes with Wade on the bench as the Bucks inched closer. Eric Bledsoe hit a 3 to pull the Bucks within 85-81. After a turnover by Josh Richardson, Wade blocked a layup attempt by Bledsoe, and Wayne Ellington connected on a 3 to help seal the victory.
“I don’t jump as high as I used to so I have to have great timing, and I have always had that. And I was able to make a good block,” Wade shared.
The most natural thing to learn for Wade is playing with Whiteside and Adebayo. Those two guys are forces to be reckoning with. It is going to make his job easier in understanding how to utilize them. The three-time champion will not score 25 points a night, but He brings something the team needed. You will see a better version of Wade from earlier in the season with the Cavaliers here in Miami because he knows this system.
“I would love to go 6 for 6, but I was just trying to get used to everything, so I wasn’t worried about that,” Wade said. “I was worried about getting the win. I felt like I did some positive things on the basketball floor and I felt like I did some negative things on the basketball floor, but I tried to make winning ways defensively and offensively when I got an opportunity, and that’s what it’s all about. I’ll definitely get better, and I’ll definitely score the ball more and all of those things at some point. Tonight I thought was a success because we got the W.”
Miami feels good. The franchise feels good. He stabilizes things.
“Miami is my family. As you saw with the crowd, they are happy. All is good in the Wade household. All is good in “Wade County,” Wade shared.
“I’m happy as hell for D-Wade. He gets to go back home, and that’s how it should be. I’ve always felt like that’s where his heart and his mind was, and I think it’s going to be great for him. I look forward to seeing the footage of him being announced tonight back in Miami. But, obviously, it’s always, when it’s your brother, and you’re around him every day, and he has to go back. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t tough. We’re both 15 years in the league. We know how the business is and more importantly, we see each other all the time, anyway. So, get out of here, D-Wade.”