When the Boston Celtics called a timeout with 9:13 to play in the fourth quarter of Game Four, Dwyane Wade was busy shouting at his right hand as he jogged back up the court after nailing his third consecutive three-pointer to give the Heat a five-point lead.
He was probably telling his hand just how money it was, as if it didn't know already.
As the fans rose to their feet, Wade's words were lost in the sea of emotion and flash photography. His performance was not.
The Heat trailed 77-71 after three periods, but Wade's hot hand brought the hosts back into the contest. With it, it kept Miami's championship hopes alive, if just for one more day.
Wade had scored 14 and 11 points in the first and third quarters, either side of a distinctly average two-point second period, but he truly came alive when the game came down to the final period.
He netted 14 fourth-quarter points in the first four minutes, which included a trio of big shots from beyond the arc and three free throws when he was fouled on a questionable shot from the left wing by Ray Allen.
He tied his regular season high of 44 points, and set his own playoff record, when he pulled up and nailed another three-pointer half-way through the period that extended the Miami lead to 11. He was doing it all; coming off screens, directing traffic, finding space, and hustling sideline to sideline to get his shot.
Considering Wade was heavily guarded, it's a testament to his work-ethic and ability that he worked his open into space so often. On all but one of his three-point shots, Wade came off a left-handed dribble.
Wade came in scoring 26.6 points on 48 percent shooting,which he improved to almost 30 points on 58 percent in the three playoff losses so far.
The Celtics looked to respond by trapping Wade when he crossed into the Boston half, but all this really served to do was free space for guys like Haslem and Wright. On the other end of the court, Wade was tracking down loose balls and fighting through traffic to put pressure on Allen, who looked notably winded when he missed three free throws in a row down the stretch.
The face of the franchise might not be in a Miami uniform next season, but he made sure on Sunday that fans would get to see at the very least one more time as he took over the 101-92 victory. His 46 points—19 in the fourth quarter—kept the dream alive and sent the series back to Boston.
They might not be able to rally from the early 3-0 deficit, but Wade and the Heat proved they could more than run with the Celtics. They might need him to hit 50 when the two teams resume their battle on Tuesday night, and he's more than capable of doing that, too.
Until then, sit back and bask in the glory of one of the greatest all-time playoff performances.
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