Hours after coach Pat Riley announced earlier in the day that the Heat were no longer in the running for Sixers guard Allen Iverson, Wade came up big at the buzzer.
Playing his second game after missing two contests last week following oral surgery, Wade hit a fadeaway shot with 1.3 seconds left, capping a furious rally to lift the Miami Heat to a 101-99 win against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night.
Wade scored 29 points including 13 in the fourth quarter as Miami rallied from a double-digit deficit.
The Hornets scored only two points in the final six minutes, missing eight consecutive shots from the floor during one stretch. Chris Paul’s driving layup tied the game for the Hornets at 99-all with 18 seconds to go.
“It all came at the right time,” Wade said. “We needed this win and I needed that shot.”
Down the stretch, the Heat had their go-to player in Wade, who made was 6-of-10 from the floor in the fourth quarter.
“We have to concentrate on our team,” Wade said. “We hear a lot of things circling around. Other players’ names get thrown in from our team and they get worried and a little sidetracked. Now we don’t have to worry about that.”
The Heat did what they always do in a tight game. They put the ball in Wade’s hand. Paul’s basket ended the Hornets’ drought, but there was plenty of time for Wade to work his magic.
Wade, having missed a few buzzer shots this season, dribbled the clock down and banked in a fadeaway shot over Linton Johnson from 18 feet for the winner.
“When I spun back, I saw a had the bank shot. If I didn’t, I knew I had (Jason Williams) in the corner.”
Jannero Pargo’s heave from 30 feet away missed the rim as the buzzer sounded.
The Hornets, who defeated the Heat 101-86 in Oklahoma City on Nov. 21, appeared headed to another easy win. Rasual Butler’s 3-pointer gave the Hornets a 97-88 lead with 6:02 left in the fourth quarter, but the Heat came roaring back behind Wade, who was coming off a season-high 41-point outing against Memphis.
Wade converted a 3-point play with 4:44 left, and his scoop inside the lane tied the game at 97-all with 1:39 to go.
Wade added nine rebounds, five assists and had four steals.
Udonis Haslem scored 16 points for Miami and Posey and Jason Williams each added 15. Paul led the Hornets with 26 points, and Butler added 21.
Following Butler’s 3-pointer, the Hornets didn’t score until Paul’s basket with 18 seconds left. New Orleans turned the ball over on consecutive possessions with shot-clock violations.
“We were not as aggressive in the first half as we were in the second half,” Hornets coach Byron Scott said. “We choked. We got scared. We were hiding. It showed. We can’t have Chris break guys down every single time. It’s very disheartening to lose the game like that. Toward the end, we just choked.”
For the Heat, the fourth quarter was about making stops and limiting the Hornets’ looks at the basket. It was a much better effort than the first three quarters, when New Orleans kept getting open looks and broke out to a double-digit lead.
“Those were some crucial stops for us in the fourth quarter,” Posey said. “Once we started coming back, we were more alert and one step ahead of them.”
The Hornets are 2-9 in their last 11 games. …The Hornets have as many wins on the road (five) as they do at home. … Posey was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.