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No Shot? No Problem for D-Wade

Nov 26, 2009 – 1:30 AM
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Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

ORLANDO -- Even when he struggles -- and he struggled badly Wednesday night -- Dwyane Wade will find a way to win games for the Miami Heat.

It's what the great ones do.

Wade rarely shoots this poorly -- six of 22 from the field -- but he still had the Orlando Magic defense on a string, reacting to his every move, opening the door again for his sometimes-forgotten, oft-maligned teammates.

"He just did it with his intelligence at the end,'' said Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra. "He's been in this situation so many times before.''

The Heat (9-5) closed the gap on the Magic (11-4), their Southeast Division rival, with a come-from-behind, out-of-the-ordinary, 99-98, victory that showed the varied impact Wade can have on a game.

He started poorly, and he finished the same way -- missing his last five field goal attempts -- but his final two misses became offensive rebounds and easy scores by Udonis Haslem and Michael Beasley, respectively.

They were all alone by the basket.

"Everybody is just staring at him (Wade), and the shot goes up,'' said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "When you don't get a body on either rebounder at the end of a hard-fought game, you probably deserve to lose.''

Beasley scored with 1.6 seconds remaining to win the game, following a pair of missed free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining by Magic point guard Jason Williams, who had played brilliantly until his freeze-up.

Williams led everyone with 25 points, but it was Wade's 24, and the threat of many more, that sent the Magic into a defensive meltdown at the end. Wade had averaged 38 points in four games against the Magic last season, and they were scared to death of it happening again.

Wade brought the Heat back from an 11-point deficit midway in the final period by hitting his first three shots and nine consecutive free throws. The calls he didn't get early in the game, he got in the final period.

"I was struggling early, and just not making shots I normally make,'' Wade said. "But I just said to myself that I've done it before, and I've scored 20 in a quarter, I could do it again.''

He had 16 points Wednesday in the final nine minutes.

"This is a great win for us,'' Wade said. "To come in here and win is big, and to do it this way gives you confidence that you can win even when things aren't going well.''

As a team, the Heat are in a holding pattern, waiting for young guys like Beasley and point guard Mario Chalmers to mature. They mainly are waiting for next summer when they expect to add another high-priced free agent. In the meantime, they are relying so heavily on Wade to carry them.

The Magic, meanwhile, have beaten Boston, but they also have lost to both Cleveland and Miami, struggling to regain the form that made them Eastern Conference champs. They will play in Atlanta tonight, facing the team with the best record in the East.

Dwight Howard hasn't regained his dominance of last season. And neither has Rashard Lewis, who is rusty from missing the first 10 games of this season because of an NBA suspension.

"Offensively, we are not right now getting good enough play out of the guys we really look to -- Vince (Carter), Rashard (Lewis) and Dwight,'' Van Gundy said. "That's probably the biggest problem right now.''

Filed under: Sports