PHILADELPHIA – Dwyane Wade turned in a vintage performance, scoring 28 points to end the 76ers’ 17-game winning streak and lead the Miami Heat to a 113-103 Game 2 win over Philadelphia on Monday night and even the first-round playoff series 1-1.
“It’s just in my DNA,” Wade said. “I love the stage.”
The 36-year-old flashed the form of a three-time NBA champion with the Heat, not the journeyman who bounced around the last two seasons with forgettable stints in Chicago and Cleveland.
Wade made 11 of 17 shots and put on a show in the second quarter and sealed the game for Miami in the fourth.
“I saw moments,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what defines Dwyane Wade.”
Miami All-Star guard Goran Dragic scored 20 points and James Johnson added 18, while Philadelphia’s Rookie of the Year hopeful Ben Simmons led the Sixers with 24 points and Dario Saric had 23.
The Sixers sorely needed injured All-Star center Joel Embiid, who missed the first two playoff games with a broken orbital bone.
Monday’s loss is Philly’s first since March 13th, when it fell to Indiana. They won 16 straight to end the regular season and the first game of the playoffs and played their 10th straight game without Embiid.
“You need Joel Embiid,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
Even without him, the 76ers made it a ball game during the fourth quarter when Ersan Ilyasova made a tip shot to close to 98-96.
Wade answered and stripped Saric and finished on the other end with a basket that steadied the Heat.
The series shifts to Miami for Game 3 on Thursday.
Wade’s play resembled his glory days at times and he carried the Heat in a sensational second quarter that was the difference. He pump-faked his way to 15 points in the quarter — impressive enough, even moreso that he outscored the potent Sixers by two points.
Wade made his first seven shots of the game and passed Larry Bird for 10th on the NBA’s career postseason scoring list.
“I play the game for these moments,” Wade said.