— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 4, 2016
They weren’t on the dramatic level of Dion Waiters shoving Manu Ginobili, but Luol Deng’s struggles to inbound the ball during crunch time of Game 1 between the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat nearly decided a winner nonetheless. Dwyane Wade, though, had other plans.
After Kyle Lowry sent the game to overtime with a buzzer-beating half-court heave, the Heat found themselves up three and inbounding the ball with 10 seconds remaining in the extra session. A pretty good spot, right? But that’s when their utterly vexing inability to find the open man on a dead ball reared its ugly head yet again.
Deng’s bounce pass to Wade in the near corner ricocheted out of bounds after making contact with both its intended target and DeMar DeRozan. Officials awarded the ball to Toronto following video review despite an obvious foul taking place on the play. Could Miami’s inbounding labors really lead to another game-tying shot by the Raptors?
Not with Wade around.
The three-time champion veered from his primary assignment and got a hand on DeRozan’s crossover as the Raptors star began attacking. It was anyone’s ball from there, but Wade – a 34-year-old with a history of knee trouble who’d come up limb just several minutes – was first to the floor and secured possession for Miami.
Was his decision to take a layup as opposed to dribbling out the clock or passing to an open teammate the wisest one? Not quite. But with Wade making big-time play after big-time play when his team needs it most throughout this postseason run, it’s not like Erik Spoelstra and company have much room to doubt him.
Miami beat Toronto 102-96. Wade had 24 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Let’s see what he has in store come Thursday’s Game 2.