Five takeaways from the Heat's 106-102 Game 4 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at AmericanAirlines Arena:
▪ If this was Dwyane Wade’s final game in a Heat jersey at AmericanAirlines Arena, it offered quite the gamut – the exhilaration of Wade at his glorious best in the fourth quarter, but the exasperation of a missed free throw late, and ultimately a loss.
Wade fueled a late Heat fourth-quarter rally with 12 of his 25 points in the quarter. But he missed the second of two free throws with the Heat down two and 17.6 seconds left.
Wade closed 10 for 22 from the field, including 5 for 10 in the fourth quarter, and added three rebounds and three steals.
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“I just wanted us to get a stop and get a rebound because I felt that I could win us one here at home,” he said. “But we couldn’t get it. Coach put the ball in my hand and I was trying to lead us to try to steal one, in a sense."
Afterward, he declined to say if this could be his final Heat home game (if the Heat loses Tuesday) or whether he thought about that leaving the court. “I don’t want to answer that right now,” he said, smiling. “I've got another game to play. I'm focused on the next game."
And he emphasized the quality of the Heat’s opponent. “They put the right team together,” he said. “They’re good; they’re special. This definitely is one of the best first-round series that I've ever played in, first-round opponent. Every time you make a mistake, they make you pay.”
▪ Hassan Whiteside was much better.
Final numbers: Whiteside with 13 points, 13 rebounds, a block, four fouls and four turnovers in 26 minutes.
76ers center Joel Embiid had 14 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and eight turnovers in 31 minutes.
Whiteisde "responded in a great way," Erik Spoelstra said.
Whiteside - who scored 11 total in the first three games - shot an efficient 6 for 9 Saturday, while Embiid was 2 for 11.
“Coach gave me some minutes out there and I tried to make the most any time I got,” he said. “Coach said no regrets.”
▪ Josh Richardson was a menace defensively.
His seven steals were the most ever by a Heat player in a playoff game. He also became just the 12th player in league history to record at least 10 points, seven steals and seven assists in a playoff game since steals became an official stat in 1973.
“Just trying to be active, trying to put my fingerprints on the game,” he said.
Richardson did it even after injuring his left shoulder in a collision with Joel Embiid in the second quarter. Richardson was diagnosed with a sprained AC joint in the shoulder but plans to play in Game 5, according to a source. He said the shoulder is sore.
Richardson was the NBA’s only player with at least 121 steals and 75 blocks this season. But Richardson blamed himself for not getting over quickly enough on Ben Simmons’ driving dunk with 58 seconds left.
▪ Free throws were extremely hurtful. Miami finished 13 for 25 from the line (52 percent). Goran Dragic was 1 for 4, Whiteside 1 for 3, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo each 0 for 2.
“You’ve got to capitalize on those,” Richardson said. “You know, they’re free. They can change a game and change a series."
The Heat was 22nd in the league in free throw shooting at 75.5 percent this season. Both Whiteside and James Johnson shot 70 percent from the line this season and Winslow shot 63 percent.
▪ Rebounding remains a problem. The Sixers finished with a 57-43 edge on the boards and have outrebounded the Heat by 32 in this series.
The Sixers led the league in rebounding differential by a huge margin in the regular season (plus 430). For perspective, Denver and Oklahoma City were next at plus 237. Miami was 16th at plus 29.
“Guys got to box out and just get the ball,” Whiteside said. “It’s the biggest part of the game. With them shooting so many threes, a lot of times it's bouncing out to the three-point line. Those are the ones we struggle with.”