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NBA Playoffs 2018: On Dwyane Wade, JJ Redick and how a 36-year-old killed the Sixers
New Jersey Local | 2 months ago

PHILADELPHIA -- It was nearly midnight when Dwyane Wade finally sat, alone, at the podium at Wells Fargo Center in front of a sparse media crowd for his postgame press conference, fashionably donning a turtleneck, which haven't really been in vogue since the 1990s, way back when Wade was still a teenager growing up on the South Side of Chicago.

Well Wade is 36 now, and that was along time ago. With Wade, the turtleneck works. It looks good.

Wade is in his 15th NBA season, one of the league's best-ever shooting guards and a likely first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. He's long past his prime, but don't tell him that -- Monday, he was often the best player on the floor as he carried the Miami Heat to a 113-103 Game 2 victory over the Sixers to tie up the first round playoff series 1-1.

By the time Wade jumped out of his mid-2000s time vault -- it was a vintage Wade performance, filled with contested turnaround jumpers, athletic defensive plays and a season-best 28 points, making each of his first seven shots -- he sat down in front of the media for his post-game press conference, the adrenaline wore off and Wade was back to being the elder statesman. He looked and sounded more like the man who's been around the league long enough that his first NBA game occurred when Sixers' Ben Simmons was just 7-years-old and living Down Under, in Australia.

One question was asked.

On the second, a media member began to ask "what is it about these games and these moments that you just show up ...

Wade cut the reporter off and squinted into the crowd. The lights weren't even all that bright.

"I don't know who's talking, I'm sorry."

Reporter: "I'm right in front of you."

Laughter ensued.

Maybe Wade needs some corrective lenses.

He didn't need them on Monday night, much to the Sixers' chagrin.

The Sixers had won 17 games in a row including Game 1, using a combination of ball movement, shooting and defense to roast every team in their path. Monday, Wade made the Sixers' defense feel more like the team that won 10 games all season just two years ago. Now it's a one-game losing streak as the Sixers will travel to Miami to try and take control of the series back, starting in Game 3 on Thursday at 7 p.m.

"The series doesn't start until a team gets a road win," said Sixers' J.J. Redick, who has 90 games of playoff experience to his name. "We gotta go down to Miami and do our job, like they did their job."

How has Sixers' Markelle Fultz remained unendingly positive amidst chaos?

Wade outplayed his 2018 job description, which mostly revolves around inspiring his teammates and occasionally providing a scoring boost. He's here for leadership. Or, more.

Monday, Wade drank from the Fountain of Youth. Father Time took a nap.

He made his first seven shots. In order, it went something like this:

Switches didn't work, and the Sixers' best defensive player on the floor -- Robert Covington -- only matched up with Wade on one of his made field goals. That one was a contested fadeaway. It went in.

"We kinda got mixed up a couple times," Covington said.

Late in the fourth as the Sixers mounted a comeback, Wade snuck behind Dario Saric, stole the ball, and coasted for an easy dunk. It clinched the victory for Miami.

"I heard a lot of things tonight" from Sixers fans, Wade said, including famed comedian Kevin Hart, a close friend and Philadelphia native. "I just used it as motivation. To be able to hush the whole crowd, that's a great feeling. That's a feeling that I hope my son feels one day."

One of Wade's sons, Zaire, is 16, and a rising high school basketball star. He's only three years younger than Markelle Fultz.

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