The short-handed Golden State Warriors rallied late to spoil Dwyane Wade’s return with a 111-106 overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
Golden State ended their five-game losing streak behind former Miami forward Dorell Wright’s breakout performance. Wright, who was traded to the Warriors last season so that the Heat could make room for LeBron James, scored 15 of his 20 points in overtime and made a season-high six 3-pointers, including a tying shot late in regulation and the go-ahead bucket in the extra period to trounce his former team. The 26-year-old, who spent six years in Miami after being drafted 19th overall out of high school in 2004, struggled at the start of the season and later found himself buried in a lineup that boasted key reserves like Brandon Rush and the newly acquired Nate Robinson. But his long-range shooting at the ORACLE on Tuesday was the performance rookie coach Mark Jackson had been waiting for all season.
At first, the Warriors, who played without injured starters Stephen Curry and Andris Biedrins for the third consecutive game, failed to keep up with the Heat as they habitually turned the ball over. Miami clamped down on defense and broke away with a 21-8 run to open the third quarter, relying on the Big Three’s prowess to provide the spark. Wade returned to the lineup after sitting out his previous three games and came out with a vengeance. To reassure everyone that his foot was rehabilitated, he delivered a signature Wade combo for his first bucket, as he split a pick-and-roll and then Euro-stepped his way in the lane. He took off from there and scored relentlessly to put the Heat ahead 78-61 after three. But Miami’s 17-point lead evaporated fast.
James, who continued his assault at the rim and pounded the paint with nearly every bucket in the first half, decision-making down the stretch wasn’t as sharp. The Heat resorted back to hero-ball in the final period, as ‘Bron forced passes, missed rotations on defense and shot long 2-pointers like he had no other options. Wade began to struggle as well shooting 2-for-10 in the fourth, which slowly allowed the Warriors to creep back in it. David Lee (20 points, 14 rebounds) ran circles around Chris Bosh all night, forcing Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to switch James on him in crunch time.
Nate Robinson ignited Golden State’s 24-12 comeback with a pair 3-pointers followed by a layup late in the final period. Heat power forward Udonis Haslem picked up a technical foul on the play, and Robinson’s free throw tied the score at 93. Wade converted on a pair of free throws to extend Miami’s lead to 96-93 before Wright evened the score with a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left in regulation. D.Wade missed a jumpshot before the Warriors called timeout. Golden State’s final possession in regulation was botched when Monte Ellis dribbled around too long as time expired before his pass to Wright, who was waiting on the wing, overtime.
The Warriors began to pull away in the seesaw extra period, going ahead 105-104 on Wright’s 3-pointer with a minute and half remaining. Robinson came up with a key steal as he intercepted Wade’s pass on Miami’s next possession, throwing it ahead to Wright, who thundered home an uncontested dunk. On the next possession Ellis redeemed his end of regulation miscue and hit a fade-a-way jumper over Heat forward Shane Battier to put the Warriors up for good 109-106. In Miami’s final attempt to even the score, James took a difficult 3-pointer that caromed off the rim with 7.9 seconds to play. The Warriors recovered and Robinson made a pair of free throws to seal Golden State’s stunning victory, 111-106.
Wright was perfect from the field in the five-minute extra period, shooting 3-of-3 from the field and 2-of-2 from three-point range. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the ex-Heat entered the game averaging 5.8 points per game but scored 20 against his old team on 7-of-15 shooting from the field and 6-of-11 from behind the arc. He also had 10 rebounds. Robinson, the shortest player on the court at 5’9”, led the Warriors with 24 points and going perfect from the line, hitting 14-of-14 free throws.
Wade had a game-high 34 points, but shot dismal 1-of-8 from the field in the fourth. Still, he led the Heat with six points in the period, which was five more points than James offered. James finished with 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Over the last two seasons, James is now 0-6 on 3-pointers in the last 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime that would have tied or given the Heat the lead. Bosh finished with 16 points and four rebounds, as the Miami reverted back to last season’s execution woes the Heat coughed up 22 turnovers and missed 14 free throws.
Despite their 3-6 record, Golden State has beaten the NBA’s elite, with victories against the Chicago Bulls, the New York Knicks and ending the Heat’s three-game winning streak on Tuesday. The Warriors will face the Orlando Magic on Thursday. Miami will travel to Los Angeles on Wednesday to face Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Clippers.