When Dwyane Wade was acquired before the trade deadline from Cleveland, there was uncertainty over how the Heat (32-29) would use the 36-year-old veteran off the bench. There was a stark adjustment period in which Wade struggled at the outset, averaging 8.6 points and shooting 34.5 percent in his first five games while missing potential game-winning shots in losses to Philadelphia and New Orleans.
But for one game at least, everything old was new again in South Beach as Wade delivered in the crunch during Tuesday night's 102-101 victory over the 76ers. He scored 15 of Miami's final 17 points and hit the game-winning jumper as time expired, finishing with a season-high 27 points and making ten of 16 shots.
Miami are 2-0 on their current five-game home stand and hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The playoffs are likely a bridge too far for the Lakers (26-34), who are 11th in the Western Conference, but they are playing some of their best basketball of the season as first-year coach Luke Walton appears to have settled on his first and second units.
Los Angeles are 2-0 on their current four-game road swing and have won three straight overall after rolling past the Atlanta Hawks 123-104 on Monday night. Brandon Ingram had 21 points, ten rebounds and six assists as the Lakers put nine players in double figures and recorded 28 assists while shooting 52.2 percent.
The Lakers, who have matched their win total from last season, have won 15 of their last 22 games following a stretch in which they dropped 17 of 20.