Wade finds inspiration to evade thunder

Dwyane Wade (right) accelerates past Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka as the 33-year-old taps on his experience to lead Miami Heat out of a tight spot. His two free throws nailed the win with 1.5 seconds left.
Dwyane Wade (right) accelerates past Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka as the 33-year-old taps on his experience to lead Miami Heat out of a tight spot. His two free throws nailed the win with 1.5 seconds left.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Veteran praised for courage to make plays late in game to help Miami triumph 97-95

MIAMI • There were 38 lead changes - the most in the National Basketball Association this season and the second-most in the league in the past 10 years.

There was crazy athleticism seen on the court with young dunkers, leapers and shot-blockers such as guard Russell Westbrook and forward Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and centre Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat.

Yet, it was 33-year-old guard Dwyane Wade who made the winning plays, leading the Heat to a 97-95 win on Thursday at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

He scored a game-high 28 points, including two game-winning free throws with 1.5 seconds left.

"He somehow found daylight," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Wade's drive to the basket that drew a foul on forward Serge Ibaka.

"I'm surprised he found energy to jump. Dwyane is a proven Hall of Fame talent, particularly in the fourth quarter.

DWYANE CAN TAKE THE HEAT

I'm surprised he found energy to jump. Dwyane is a proven Hall of Fame talent, particularly in the fourth quarter.

ERIK SPOELSTRA, Miami Heat coach, on Dwyane Wade's performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder

"He's going to have the courage to make plays."

Thunder coach Billy Donovan also praised Wade.

"It was actually good defence by Serge," he said. "But Wade did a great job of drawing contact."

"That felt like the play-offs," Wade said of the back-and-forth affair on court.

He scored Miami's final eight points and then guarded Westbrook on the game's final play.

The Thunder star badly missed a rushed three-pointer at the buzzer.

"That was our best game of the year from start to finish.

"They have two of the greatest players in our game (Durant and Westbrook). They have a great team," Wade added.

The Heat improved to 11-6 while Oklahoma City fell to 11-8 despite 25 points contributed by both Durant and Westbrook.

Durant missed a three-pointer at the top of the key with nine seconds left in the game, when the score was tied 95-95.

He was guarded by Miami rookie forward Justise Winslow on the play, and Heat forward Chris Bosh grabbed the rebound.

"I shoot 47 per cent from three, and I got a wide-open look. I just missed," said Durant.

Next up for Miami is another potentially exciting home game today against former team-mate LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Expect the usual big-time hype for a LeBron-Heat match-up but Spoelstra is not too interested in the topic just yet.

"When do we play?" he joked.

"Catch me tomorrow.

"I haven't even thought about it yet... We'll be there."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2015, with the headline 'WADE FINDS INSPIRATION TO EVADE THUNDER'. Print Edition | Subscribe