The pageantry of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade playing their final game against one another was lost to a sloppy affair that the Los Angeles Lakers emerged from with a 108-105 win over the Miami Heat. It gave James 16 wins in 31 head-to-head meetings with Wade.
Wade received a standing ovation upon entering the game off the bench in the first quarter. He received more applause when the Lakers played a tribute video. Wade was largely quiet until a burst in the third quarter and some turning back of the clock in the fourth.
Prior to that, the Heat pushed ahead just fine without much from one of the game’s greatest shooting guards. They trailed 27-23 at the end of the first quarter but went on a 9-2 run in the second to take a lead.
The Lakers managed to tie the game at 34 but fell into another deficit and went into halftime down 58-55. Justise Winslow led all scorers through the first two quarters with 17 points off the bench.
After scoring nine points in the first half, James found some rhythm in the third, chipping in 8 points and creating opportunities for teammates. Some of the momentum he and the Lakers began to generate stalled with ill-advised turnovers on back-to-back possessions.
The ball found its way into Wade’s hands during much of the fourth quarter, leading to positive results more times than not for the Heat. Winslow’s 3-pointer gave Miami a 96-90 lead with just over 6 minutes remaining in the game.
James took over from there by answering back with a three of his own, flushing down a dunk, hitting Kuzma for a 3-pointer, and adding in another shot from deep. His involvement in the 11-point flurry gave the Lakers a 101-98 lead.
Lance Stephenson sunk a pair of free throws to create more separation but the Heat managed to pull even at 103. With the Lakers clinging to a one-point lead, James and Wade traded missed jumpers during the final minute.
James followed that up by tracking down a rebound and converting two free throws on an intentional foul. Wade missed a contested 3-pointer over James that would’ve tied the game.