Monday , Apr , 19 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Playoff Notebook: Miami’s Wade comes through in the clutch

(Sports Network) – Rookie Dwyane Wade knocked down a a short jumper from
inside the paint with 1.3 seconds remaining, lifting the Miami Heat to an
81-79 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena
in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals matchup.

The Marquette product Wade finished with a game-high 21 points in his first-
ever post-season game for the fourth-seeded Heat, who are appearing in the
playoffs for the first time since they were swept by the Hornets in the
opening round of the 2001 postseason. Lamar Odom netted 17 points and grabbed
11 rebounds in the victory for Miami.

With Miami ahead 79-77 late in the contest, New Orleans’ P.J. Brown drained a
15-foot jumper to tie the score at 79-79 with 53 seconds remaining. The Heat
then turned the ball over on the ensuing possession to give the Hornets the
ball with 35 seconds remaining

Baron Davis’ driving layup as the shot clock was winding down missed and did
not hit the rim. After the ball got batted around, Brown grabbed the rebound,
but the Hornets were whistled for a 24-second violation with 10 seconds left.

Miami took over and called timeout to draw up the final play. On the inbounds,
Wade received the ball and eventually drove the lane, where he drained a
runner to put the Heat ahead 81-79 with just 1.3 seconds left.

“Well, I looked up at the clock once so I knew that I would have enough time
to make the shot,” Wade said after hitting the winning shot. “I tried to go
one way and he (Davis) cut me off, and after that I knew I had to hurry and
make a play. The only thing I was worried about was getting the ball. Once I
had it, I was confident.”

“We were looking for dribble penetration,” said New Orleans’ head coach Tim
Floyd about Miami’s winning basket. “We knew we had a foul to give, and wanted
to give a foul, but did not get it done. Wade made a really nice play. He had
a lot of poise.”

After the Hornets called timeout, New Orleans was not able to get a shot off
on the final play as the inbounds pass was deflected away by a Miami defender.

“They [New Orleans Hornets] don’t back down from a challenge,” said Miami
guard Eddie Jones. “They have been that way all year long. We didn’t expect
any different tonight. They are a great rebounding team. They are a big team.
It takes everyone to help out on the boards. That is probably the most
important factor for us. We have to rebound so we can get into transition and
get easy points. It is important for us to move around and try to get out and
run. It was important to win this game tonight. We came out with a lot of
energy. In the fourth quarter, we did not execute or do the things that we had
been doing all game. We knew we had to finish this game strong, and I am glad
we did.”

Wade’s game-winning shot gave the Heat their first playoff victory since May
17, 2000, when they defeated the New York Knicks, 87-81, in front of their
home crowd. Miami would lose in seven games to the Knicks in the Eastern
Conference semifinals.

“We basically put the ball in one of two guys’ hands, in that situation,” said
Miami head coach Stan Van Gundy. “It’s going to be either Lamar or Wade.
I thought they were playing Lamar very well, so I thought we’d give Dwyane a
look, and see if he could make the play, and he did.”

The Heat and Hornets will play Game 2 on Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami has lost two straight Game 2s in the postseason.