Wade Leads Shaq-Less Heat Past Toronto
Miami 98, Toronto 94
TORONTO, March 29 (Ticker) -- With the Miami Heat looking for some direction, Dwyane Wade took control.
Wade scored 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Miami Heat to a 98-94 comeback victory over the Toronto Raptors, their third straight win.
The Heat's offense struggled in the opening half due to the absence of a reliable post player. They shot just 36 percent (15-of-42) from the field and trailed, 57-41, at the break.
Miami still was in a 74-65 hole entering the final period but received a spark almost single-handedly fueled by Wade, who scored 16 of his team's final 20 points.
"He (Wade) has a way of making plays, he's just incredible," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "He's a big-game player, a big-time player at the end. He has no fear at the end and he simply wants to be put in that position."
"I think some of our guys need to understand who Dwyane Wade is and what he can do," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "I got cable. Even before I got to the NBA, I knew what Magic Johnson could do; I watched TV. Even if you got three channels, they're on TV."
The All-Star guard tallied nine straight points to give the Heat an 88-87 advantage with 3:20 left. Wade made a deflection and Gary Payton finished with a layup to put the Heat back front, 90-89, with 1:36 remaining.
"I try to make plays at both ends of the floor, especially in the fourth quarter when my team needs it, which is something I take pride in," said Wade, who also made a great block to deny Mike James a layup.
Three free throws by Eric Williams gave Toronto a 92-92 tie with 45 seconds left. But Wade made two more foul shots 15 seconds later, Williams missed a layup and Shandon Anderson found Udonis Haslem for a breakaway dunk with just 11 seconds left.
After James made a layup, Wade added two from the line to seal it with four seconds to go.
Wade sank 12-of-23 shots and 13-of-15 foul shots. Antoine Walker added 18 points and Haslem added 15 and 13 rebounds for the Heat, who lost their first visit to Toronto this season.
"We made our adjustments defensively in the second half which helped us get into a better offensive flow," Haslem said.
The 13-point comeback by the Heat tied their largest fourth-quarter comeback of the season, first done February 12 vs. Detroit.
"We allowed them (Heat) to get their confidence and then Dwyane started making plays at the end of the game," said James, who had 19 points and 12 assists. Morris Peterson scored 28 points for the Raptors, who shot just 8-of-23 in the final period.
"That's a tough one, because we controlled the game," Peterson said. "I thought in the first half we not only played well offensively and defensively, but we controlled the boards. In the second half, they got second chances, and that's what hurt us."
Miami outrebounded Toronto, 51-39, including 15 offensive rebounds which led to 17 second-chance points.