The three-time NBA champion helped Miami stave off elimination by out dueling Walker by excelling on both ends of the floor during a potential elimination game.
In front of a raucous Hornets home crowd — thirsting for Charlotte to advance in post season play for the first time since 2002 — Wade ensured a Game 7 would be necessary with clutch shots from beyond the arc and excellent play at the rim.
A 97-90 victory from Miami Friday served as the latest chapter in the exceptional playoff career of Wade.
The 12-time All-Star submitted his most complete performance of the series, totaling 23 points, six rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals to keep the Heat’s season alive.
After failing to convert on a 3-point shot in any of his past 56 appearances, Wade’s pair of long range shots, both from 26-feet away from the rim, were instrumental in the victory.
With just over three minutes remaining in the contest, Luol Deng avoided a double team by flipping the ball out to Wade as the shot clock was dwindling down.
From just in front of the Time Warner Arena logo on the court, Wade planted his feet, calmly elevated and sank his first shot from beyond the arc in 136 days.
The shot doubled Miami’s advantage and provided a lead not even the best playoff performance of Walker’s career could surmount.
Walker poured in a playoff career-high 37 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter. He even carried the offense by himself, tallying 12 consecutive points for Charlotte.
Following Wade’s long range shot, Walker rattled off eight consecutive points, brining the Hornets back to within two points with just over a minute remaining.
Once again, Miami placed its fate into the hands of Wade and he responded by scoring the next five points of the game.
Following Walker’s final shot of the night, the inbound pass went to Wade and after spending 14 seconds searching for an open look, he decided to step back and bury another 3-pointer.
A missed jumper from Charlotte gave Wade an opportunity to finally put the game away.
Isolated against Courtney Lee, Wade raced to the left elbow, pump faked and launched a fadeaway jumper from 18 feet out to deflate the crowd in Charlotte.
Any chance of a Hornets comeback were erased on the next possession.
Without the NBA’s leading shot blocker,Hassan Whiteside, fouled out of the game, Walker tried attacking the rim.
Without Richardson shadowing him, Walker faked a 3-pointer and dashed to the rim, Wade abandoned Lee and blocked a layup attempt from Walker off the backboard, ensuring Sunday’s Game 7 in Miami.
Wade is Miami’s all-time franchise leader in games, minutes, points, assists, steals and despite his 6-foot-4 frame, ranks second only to Alonzo Mourning in blocks with 759 for his career.
The rejection total is the most for any player under 6-foot-4 in league history and Michael Jordan is the only guard with more career blocks.
Along with his exceptional ability to turn back shots, Wade managed to provide an impact on the defensive end by preventing larger opponents from even beginning to take a shot.
Early in the fourth quarter, Wade ignited a Miami fast break by stripping the ball out of the hands of Marvin Williams as he tried to convert a layup.
His rejection of Walker came with plenty of contact, but no foul was called.
The situation was eerily similar of a play during the final minute of Game 5 as Wade was hit by Zeller while elevating for a layup, but didn’t receive the call.
Throughout his career, Wade has continually dragged the Heat to post season victories, including serving a vital role in all three of the team’s championship runs.
With the 2016 season on the line, Wade delivered on both ends of the floor and ensured Miami would live to fight another day.