Wade returns to Heat lineup, but Seattle wins 104-95
MIAMI (AP)—Kevin Durant said it felt like Seattle won a world championship. Pat Riley sounded as if his championship feeling couldn’t have been farther away.
Chris Wilcox scored 20 points, Damien Wilkins added 19 and the SuperSonics spoiled Wade’s return to the Heat lineup by beating Miami 104-95 Wednesday night — Seattle’s first win in nine games this season.
Durant, the highly touted rookie, finished with 18 on 6-of-16 shooting for Seattle, which stormed out to a 20-point halftime lead to negate whatever emotional lift Miami got from Wade’s comeback from offseason surgeries on his left knee and left shoulder.
“It feels good to get that monkey off our back, but at the same time we are not a satisfied team,” said Delonte West, who scored 16 points and hit a clutch 3-pointer late to seal the win. “We are still hungry and at the end of the day, we are still 1-8.”
On this night, 1-8 felt supremely better to Seattle than 1-7 does to Miami.
Wade scored 15 points in 25 minutes on 5-for-9 shooting for Miami, which is 0-4 at home for the second time in franchise history.
“I’m excited. I came out of the game healthy and got some things I can look at to build on,” Wade said. “But as a team, it hurts to lose another ballgame, especially at home, in front of our fans.”
Since winning the 2006 NBA title in Dallas, Miami has gone 45-49—and Riley has seen enough.
“Unless you feel like you have something at stake or something to lose as a player, then things won’t change,” Riley said. “If you don’t feel like the Heat mean something to you … you have to have a real meeting with yourself about what you care about. I don’t see a team that really feels like they have anything at stake here. They come in, they play, they get beat, they go home, they go out into the night.”
The Heat were down by 23 early in the fourth quarter, before an 18-3 run led by Wade made things interesting.
He had assists on Miami’s first four baskets of the spurt, then banked in a jumper and added a fifth assist on Williams’ 3-pointer that got the Heat within 94-83.
Davis’ three-point play cut the lead to eight, but West’s 3-pointer— Seattle’s 10th of the game—restored the Sonics’ double-digit lead and essentially sealed the outcome.
“Our guys competed tonight,” Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “They came out in the third quarter with energy and after Miami made their great run at the end of the third, we started the fourth with the same way.”
By the time Wade entered the game, Seattle had Miami in a hole.
The Sonics led 22-12 with 4:49 left in the opening quarter, when Wade entered amid loud roars from the home crowd. He missed his first jumper, a 20-foot try from the right baseline about 2 1/2 minutes later, but soon looked like the Wade of old.
Wade’s first basket was a long jumper and his second was an acrobatic layup, replete with a tumble to the court—like he did so many times in his first four seasons. He dove for loose balls, didn’t seem to shy from contact and showed flashes of the explosiveness that was missing late last season when the knee pained him.
It just wasn’t enough.
The Sonics shot 49 percent in the first half, were 7-for-11 from 3-point range in the opening two quarters and outrebounded Miami 30-15 over that stretch to take a commanding 61-41 lead into intermission.
Even after all those eye-catching numbers, one stat stood out: 14-0.
That was Seattle’s first-half scoring advantage when O’Neal was on the floor. He played 4 minutes, 23 seconds of the half, going into the break with no points, no shots, no rebounds, three fouls and two turnovers.
Wade’s return couldn’t come at a better time for the Heat, who entered averaging an NBA-worst 83.3 points. But having Wade, who averaged a career-high 27.4 points last season, is sure to help.
“It isn’t going to be one man that’s going to turn this around,” Riley said, echoing a line Wade has used in recent days. “He will change the game for us, as he progresses in live action.”
Wade had surgery on his left shoulder and left knee May 15, and was told by doctors that the rehabilitation process would last six months. Thursday is the six-month anniversary of those procedures, and Durant was almost wide-eyed after his first matchup with the 2006 finals MVP.
“Even though they say he is not 100 percent, he is amazing,” Durant said.
One night after allowing Orlando to grab 58 rebounds, Seattle finished with an 52-34 rebounding edge. … The Sonics held a 24-point scoring edge with Wilcox on the floor, but were outscored by four points when Wade was on the court. … Durant has scored in double digits in all nine Seattle games.