His House: Dwyane’s Miraculous Buzzer-Beater Was The “Wade Moment” We’ve Been Waiting For
If you happened to be standing anywhere near 601 Biscayne Blvd. on Wednesday, that sudden gust of wind you felt around 10 p.m. was the product of an entire Miami Heat fan base exhaling, releasing the seemingly endless frustrations that have plagued this team through its first 59 games, especially in the friendly confines of AmericanAirlines Arena.
Even as the Heat’s lead ballooned to 24 points in the first half against the defending champion Golden State Warriors, that feeling of inevitability washed over everyone in the third quarter as Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson woke up after two off nights in Miami to will the champs back into the game.
Just like in Oakland, it was back and forth with the greatest collection of talent ever assembled. Surely, the relentless scoring of Durant would be enough to put the Heat away just as it was before.
And then, it happened.
Dwyane Wade’s miraculous bank shot at the buzzer goes against every trend imaginable for this Heat team, especially this season. They’ve wilted at the end of games and appear wholly uncomfortable playing with a lead. But last night, finally, everything was different.
The last four minutes of the game were everything this season was supposed to be. Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, and Josh Richardson hounding the opponent defensively, punching and counterpunching with some of the game’s best talent. Young players getting invaluable minutes in their formative years.
And then in the end, it would be Wade, the old man on his last trip around the sun, who would provide the signature closer moment just as he had for the 14 years prior. An 82-game passing of the torch.
Unfortunately, a roster logjam, injuries and inconsistent play robbed us of that through the first two-thirds (ish) of the season. The Heat find themselves in tenth place in the East, a half game out of the inconsequential final playoff spot. Their season is set to end sometime in early-mid April and questions that need to be answered this summer still remain.
But for a night, hell, for a half-quarter, none of that particularly mattered. Heat fans around the world got the Wade moment that will be replayed for years to come, particularly when one of the game’s greatest players is immortalized in Springfield. Bad contracts, ping pong balls, or Zion Williamson were irrelevant in those few brief seconds providing Heat fans with a reminder of what it was like when we could just enjoy basketball.
Sure, the Heat may crash back down to earth in Houston on Thursday. They may stumble all the way to the finish line and miss the playoffs. Some will argue that’s a misstep for the greater good. But that argument isn’t for now. Contracts, rotations, and shot distribution can be discussed at a later date.
What’s for now is a player long thought to be over the hill providing one final moment, in his house, on the road to one of the most graceful exits this game has ever seen.
In the summer of 2016, Pat Riley reacted to Dwyane Wade’s decision to sign with the Chicago Bulls with a long note recounting the team’s clinching victory in Dallas during the 2006 Finals:
“DW rebounded the ball, and threw it to the heavens,” Riley told The Miami Herald. “And the Heat universe was perfect for that moment.”
As it stands now, the Heat universe is far from perfect. But for just a fleeting moment, with the franchise player atop the scorer’s table once again, it sure felt like it.