In his time with Miami, Dwyane Wade has constructed quite the highlight reel.
He has the traditional highlights that most stars possess: dunks, blocks, passes, robust statlines. It’s his timeliness, however, that separates himself from so many of the league’s greats. That rare ability to take in a moment that would usually make those who are weak to have their knees shake and their palms to sweat.
Wade is of a rare cut from the league’s best, and few are able to match him in his ability to come through in moments that would be defined as clutch by the NBA community. The moments that so many shy away from he embraces and personally takes it upon himself to prop his team up on his shoulders.
The most intriguing part of these collective game-winners is how so many of them have come by way of a jumper. The shots taken at the end of games are a funny thing. It always seems the style of team basketball is thrown out in favor of isolations that relies on one player doing it all himself.
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You want the ball in the hands of your best player, but wouldn’t it also be in the best interests to move the ball and see if a shot near the basket can be taken? It’s a great shot when it goes in, because it is in the hands of your best player, but moving the ball would also help, too.
Then again, I’m not one to argue with results, especially the results Dwyane Wade has come up with. He’s been hitting game-winners of the floater, midrange, and bank shot variety since he first entered the league in 2003.
Not only has he been clutch on offense, but he showcases his ability to aid his team on the defensive end, as well. He’s become known as the greatest shotblocking guard in NBA history for a reason. When he combines that with his ability to come through in the clutch, you get some defensive stands that are on par with his shots on offense.
Being able to easily compile a list of 20 clutch moments from Wade’s career goes to show just how apt he’s been in that significant dimension of the game.
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20. Dwyane steals and seals it vs. Orlando
The Heat should continue to run this defense at the end of games every time, mainly because it takes Ray Allen away from playing defense.
Allen falling and laying down was the best thing that could have happened to the Heat in this situation. He was wiped out on a screen by Hedo Turkloglu, which led to the sharpshooter being left wide-open and having the ball come his way.
Dwyane had different plans. He gambled off of Arron Afflalo and intercepted the crosscourt pass from Redick to Turkoglu, leaving nothing but open court between him and a four-point lead.
The only mistake Wade made was scoring immediately off the steal. It appeared nobody on the Magic had decided to give chase, meaning he could have just waited for time to run out or to waste a few more seconds before giving the Heat a four-point lead.
Either way, Wade proves once again that you can be clutch on more than just offense.
19. Dwyane banks in the game-winner vs. New Orleans
It’s not nearly as memorable or captivating as his first game-winner against New Orleans, but this was still a tough shot to hit.
Wade, who should be known as the master of hitting shots that have no right going in, hardly got a look at the rim before he faded away and threw up a prayer at the backboard over two defenders.
Because he’s an apt bank shooter, though, the shot was able to catch the side of the rim and find its way in to give the Heat a two-point lead, and the eventual win, with 1.3 seconds remaining.
18. Rodney Stuckey gets put in a straitjacket
Opponents shouldn’t only just worry about Dwyane Wade having the ball in his hands in the closing seconds of a close game. They should also be concerned when the ball is inbounded to someone who is being guarded by Dwyane.
In a one-point game and the Pistons in possession of the final shot, the ball was unwisely inbounded to Rodney Stuckey, who was being defended by Wade. Although he was able to get into the teeth of the defense, Wade was suffocating him the whole time, leading to the blocked shot on the floater attempt.
Wade’s job didn’t end there, though, as he also got the loose ball, ensuring the Pistons don’t get a field goal attempt right at the rim.
17. Game 4 vs. Boston
Consider Dwyane Wade’s Game 4 performance against the Boston Celtics as the last great pre-Big Three performance of his career.
It was also the end of an era. Although Wade has had great individual performances since then, such as scoring 45 against Houston and the Game 6 against Indiana, this marked the end of the entertaining, carefree style of Heat basketball that was limited to a “Either Dwyane scores 40 or we lose by 30” mindset.
The Heat were already finished in their 2010 First Round series with the Boston Celtics. Boston had gone up 3-0 the previous game on Paul Pierce‘s game-winner and neither of the games in Boston had been anywhere near close. As it turned out, this Boston team was a lot better than most originally thought, eventually reaching Game 7 of the NBA Finals before bowing out.
A lot of questions remained after this series, namely whether it or not Dwyane Wade would decide to stay. After four consecutive years of failing to get past the first round, Heat fans were wary that this was the last time they’d see Wade in a Heat uniform.
Nobody wanted to see the Heat get swept, especially if this was going to be Wade’s final year. Apparently, Dwyane felt the same way, which is why he saved his best for last in one of the more underrated series of his career.
Miami lost their series in five games, but not before Wade had averaged 33.2 points on 56 percent overall shooting and 41 percent three-point shooting. No better instance of his individual mastery over the game and ability to take on five defenders at the same time was made than his 46-point Game 4. Wade hit five of his seven three-pointers, prompting him to openly question how his hand was capable of doing so, and scored 30 points in the second half to extend the series.