EditorsNote: 6th graf, change season’s to seasons
Dwyane Wade played his final game at longtime nemesis Dallas and made it a memorable one with a game-high 22 points, and the Miami Heat rode a dominant third quarter to a 112-101 victory over the Mavericks on Wednesday night.
Wade, 37, led the Heat past the Mavs in the 2006 NBA Finals, a series Dallas fans still believe was greased for Wade by whistle-happy referees. Five years later, Dallas and Dirk Nowitzki repaid Wade by winning the 2011 Finals in six games on Miami’s home floor.
After Wednesday’s game, Nowitzki, who is also nearing the end of his career, exchanged jerseys with Wade. They will see each other again this weekend in Charlotte as honorary All-Stars, and then one more time on March 28 when Dallas visits Miami.
Since the 2011 Finals, Miami has won 13 of the teams’ past 15 meetings.
Wade hit eight of his first 10 shots and scored 14 points in the first half in just 11 minutes.
Nowitzki, 40, who has yet to officially announce that this, his 21st season, will be his last, finished the night with 12 points in 17 minutes, but he was nowhere near his efficiency level of seasons past, shooting 5 of 14 from the floor and just 2 of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Dallas’ rookie sensation, Luka Doncic, struggled with his shot, missing 12 of 17 attempts. He still finished just shy of a triple-double with 18 points, nine assists and a season-high-tying 12 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 20 points, and Maxi Kleber had 11 for the Mavericks.
Miami trailed 58-57 at halftime but quickly took control in the third quarter with a 12-0 run as Dallas missed 12 of its first 13 shots. The Heat doubled up Dallas, 32-16, in the period, with the Mavericks shooting a miserable 4 of 22 from the floor.
A quick Miami start to the fourth quarter made it 99-78 and subdued any thoughts Dallas might have had of a second consecutive comeback on its home floor. The Mavs rallied from 15 points down in the fourth quarter to top the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
Both teams now head into the All-Star break.
Miami, with seven players scoring in double figures, snapped a three-game skid in the finale of a five-game road trip. Dion Waiters contributed 20 points, Josh Richardson had 14, James Johnson finished with 12, Justise Winslow had 11, and Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk each had 10.
—Field Level Media