Wade nets 'crazy' winner

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade (left) celebrating with Justise Winslow after making the game-winning basket against champions Golden State Warriors at American Airlines Arena.
Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade (left) celebrating with Justise Winslow after making the game-winning basket against champions Golden State Warriors at American Airlines Arena.PHOTO: REUTERS

Veteran Heat player credits ex-Laker Bryant for his drive to continuously raise his game

MIAMI • Miami icon Dwyane Wade credited National Basketball Association great Kobe Bryant's "Mamba Mentality" after nailing a buzzer-beating three-pointer, lifting the Heat to a 126-125 home victory over the two-time defending champions Golden State Warriors.

The former Los Angeles Laker star coined the term, which is also the title of his biography, as a "constant quest to try to better today than you were yesterday".

It explains why Wade, who is retiring at the end of the season after 16 years in the league, never forgot how Bryant got one over him on Dec 4, 2009 by banking the game-winner over his outstretched hands to give the Lakers a one-point win over the Heat.

Recalling how that memory stayed with him, fuelling his desire to continuously improve his game, the guard, who poured in 25 points on Wednesday night, said post-game: "I wonder when Kobe hit that game-winner on me in L.A., when he hit it off the top.

"When he hit it off the glass at the top of the key, I asked, 'How is that possible?' Thank you for showing me the way.

"I've been in this position so many times and so many times, you don't make the shot. And the one I make is a one-legged flick from my chest. It's crazy."

The off-balance basket was another sublime moment to add to Wade's career highlight reel and his peers were delighted his farewell tour still had legs.

Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who contributed 29 points, called him "an amazing player and person".

His teammate Draymond Green, who had five points, added: "Everybody is just getting a chance to see D-Wade. Obviously he's not the D-Wade of 2006, but he's still a damn good basketball player.

"It's exciting to see him playing as well as he is and wanting to walk out of this game on his own terms."

Rockets guard Chris Paul, whose team will next take on the Heat, jokingly tweeted a warning to the 37-year-old to "not come to Houston with that nonsense".

Bryant also hailed Wade for channelling his mindset, tweeting: "My Man" while LeBron James, his former Heat teammate, could not resist comparing their shots.

James drained a three-pointer with 31 seconds left on the clock as the Lakers ran out eventual 125-119 home winners over the New Orleans Pelicans, but the forward teasingly claimed his basket "was a little bit more difficult".

He said: "His was weird. I don't know if that was even a shot. You know when you play Pop-a-Shot? He had to, I mean, because he had no time. But yeah, my shot was more difficult."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2019, with the headline 'Wade nets 'crazy' winner'. Print Edition | Subscribe