Dwyane Wade turned back the hands of time Monday night. The Heat legend had 28 points and seven rebounds to spark Miami’s Game 2 win. He also made key the key play down the stretch — when the Sixers had the momentum and were making a run, he slid up behind Dario Saric and the elbow and stripped him, leading to a run-out dunk for Wade that changed the feel of the game.
Wade is a future Hall of Famer and while he can’t do it as often now, he still has these nights.
Monday, Wade said he had a little extra motivation — Kevin Hart, a Philadelphia native, in a Sixers jacket barking on the sidelines.
“When you got people like Kevin Hart talking on the sideline, when you got the crowd saying all the things they’re saying, I heard a lot of things tonight, and it’s all used as motivation,” Wade said. “To be able to hush a whole crowd, that’s a great feeling.”
Hart’s going to be there in Miami, but he may want to think twice about firing up Wade.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) —Stephen Curry watched another lopsided win from the bench in sheer delight, wearing a sport coat and big smile.
Durant sparked a decisive third-quarter run on the way to 32 points, Thompson added 31 points and five assists in another superb playoff performance and the Golden State Warriors rallied in the second half to beat the San Antonio Spurs 116-101 on Monday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.
As Curry remains out likely for the entire series nursing a sprained left knee, the Warriors used all the offensive power they had to take both home games in the best-of-seven series.
“No one can make up Steph’s contributions individually,” Thompson said. “That’s got to be done as a team and even then it’s hard with the way he can shoot the ball.”
Thompson has found his touch after missing two weeks in March with a broken right thumb.
He followed up his brilliant 11-for-13 shooting day in a 113-92 Game 1 rout Saturday by hitting 12 of 20 shots. Durant also had six rebounds and six assists for the Warriors, who went without key backup big man David West down the stretch after he sprained his left ankle early in the fourth.
Coach Steve Kerr stuck with JaVale McGee as his starting center and the 7-footer contributed 10 points and seven rebounds as the well-rounded defending champions again showed off their remarkable depth.
Game 3 is Thursday as the series shifts to San Antonio.
Thompson managed just three shots in the first quarter and began 1 for 5. He pounded the basketball down with two hands, frustrated, midway through the second quarter. Then he found his groove.
“He hit some tough shots off one leg and you know had some opportunity bounces,” Aldridge said. “That’s why they are who they are. They made tough shots. KD made tough shots.”
A baseline 3 with 55.9 seconds left before halftime was his first of the night and got Golden State within 49-45 before the Spurs took a 53-47 lead at intermission.
Draymond Green began 0 for 5 before his first basket on the opening possession of the fourth quarter and Durant missed his five 3-point tries in the first half then finally hit from deep early in the third.
The Warriors opened the third on a 19-5 run to take charge but this time the Spurs didn’t go away.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich went with Gay in the starting lineup for Kyle Anderson in an effort to generate more scoring – and his team still struggled to make shots.
Popovich said before the game that Golden State in Game 1 played “the most stifling defense we faced all year long. That was the best defensive 48 minutes that we have competed against all year long.”
Kerr knew Popovich would have his team better prepared.
And the Spurs showed higher intensity on both ends through the first half, working to keep the ball out of Durant’s hands or contest shots while jumping in passing lanes to force mistakes.
Andre Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, started a second straight game and had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Warriors beat the Spurs for the 10th time in 11 games covering the regular season and playoffs.
San Antonio struggled from the floor for the second straight game, finishing 35 for 85 (41.2 percent). In Game 1, the Spurs shot 40 just percent while going 9 for 22 from deep and got outrebounded 51-30.
Joel Embiid is frustrated.
He watched from the bench in street clothes Monday as his Philadelphia team lost Game 2 of its first-round series against Miami, evening things up. He couldn’t play. While he has been cleared through the league’s concussion protocol and has a mask to protect his face following a fractured eye socket, the team doctors have not cleared him. Minutes after the loss, Embiid lashed out in anger in an Instagram story.
Coach Brett Brown was asked about Embiid’s frustration and his social media comments after the game and tried to spin it to a positive (via NBC Sports Philadelphia):
“He just wants to play basketball. He wants to be with his team, he wants to play in front of the fans and he wants to see this through. When he’s not able to do that, he gets frustrated, and I respect his frustrations. It’s borne out of him wanting to be with his team. And so the medical side, different reasons, I’m not going to go there. But I do know the spirit he delivered that [Instagram story] you just talked about reflects my conversations with him. It’s completely driven by team, competitiveness, I want to play basketball, that type of feeling more than anything.”
Embiid spoke to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN and echoed those same thoughts.
Embiid’s status for Thursday’s Game 3 in Miami has yet to be determined.
When he steps on the court, everything about this series will change — the Sixers will get their best player back. Their defensive anchor. Embiid also changes their offense (although the ball moves less with him out there). And it sets up the Embiid vs. Hassan Whiteside matchup — which will undoubtedly carry onto social media after the game.
Embiid wants to play, he wants to be out there with his teammates, but we know the Sixers and they are going to think about what is the best for the long-term, not about short-term gains. They always have.
So Embiid remains frustrated. As do Sixers fans.
Welcome to the playoffs, young Sixers.
Miami, with a roster of role players — but ones who are versatile, defend, and play smart — adjusted after getting blown out in the second half of Game 1. Justise Winslow and company took away Ben Simmons’ space. Miami was smart about who to stick with and not let Simmons find. Miami got physical. The Sixers struggled to adapt.
Then Dwyane Wade hopped in the hot tub time machine and brought back his old game, complete with a lot of mid-range jumpers. He had 21 points in the first half, then a couple key plays late — including a steal that led to a run-out dunk — to settle the Heat down during a Sixers run.
The end result was a 113-103 Miami win on the road in Game 2. The series is now tied 1-1 heading back to Miami.
The win will give the Heat confidence heading home, something that could change the feel of this entire series… until the Sixers bring in Joel Embiid, and everything that happened the first couple of games will feel like a different series. (Embiid’s status for Game 3 is unknown, but he has cleared the league’s concussion protocol.)
“Tonight was about us bringing more of a physical mindset as a group,” Wade said after the game. “It wasn’t about an individual, necessary challenge against those guys, it was about us as a group. I thought we did that.”
It didn’t start out looking like that for Miami. After a quick start hitting 4-of-5, some foul trouble for Goran Dragic that forced him to the bench threw the Heat off, they struggled to score going 5-of-18 the rest of the quarter, and meanwhile, the Sixers kept making plays and had a double-digit lead in the first.
That’s when Wade and the Miami defense changed everything.
Wade had played just 19 minutes and wasn’t a factor in Game 1, came out shooting 7-of-7 in the first half and sparked an 8-0 Heat run to open the second quarter, giving them a lead they never relinquished. That run stretched out to 16-2. Wade finished the first half with 21 points and just hit everything.
At the same time, the Sixers weren’t scoring the same way. Philly was 11-of-15 from three in the second half of Game 1, but that was out of character. Things even out. Philly was 2-15 to start Game 2, some of those good looks that just didn’t go down.
Miami also took a different approach to Ben Simmons. In Game 1 they laid back on him and dared him to shoot, but instead he dribbled into that space and made passes or hit little floaters over guys. This time around Winslow and company took away that space, forcing him to drive and become a scorer — not his strength.
With Embiid out, the Sixers rely heavily on Simmons to make passes — the Sixers led the NBA in passes per game according to the NBA’s tracking stats — and find other players moving through off-the-ball screens. However, with pressure on Simmons those passes just did not work the same way as Game 1. Miami also did a much better job of both getting back in transition defense and recognizing the shooting threats and getting out on them.
Miami’s starters moved the ball and forced the young Sixers to make decisions, something Philly was inconsistent at. When Wade was in the offense is much simpler, but when he’s hitting his midrange shots — he was 7-of-9 between the paint and the arc — he’s almost impossible to stop. When the Sixers focused on taking the ball out of his hands guys like Wayne Ellington made plays (he finished with 11).
Goran Dragic finished with 20 for the Heat, and James Johnson had 18 as part of a balanced attack.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Miami.
Dwyane could not miss to start Game 2 Monday night — Miami needed some buckets and confidence, and he came out firing, going 7-of-7 to open the game with 21 first-half points.
Everything he was putting up seemed to go in.
And in that run, Wade passed Larry Bird to take over 10th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list.
Just another milestone for the future Hall of Famer.