HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU – In their first opportunity of the 2011-12 season, the Miami Heat did what they were never able to do at all last season: win a game with a go-ahead bucket in the final 10 seconds.
Last year, the Heat were 1-for-18 from the field in the last 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime with a tie game or with a deficit of 1-3 points. And the one field goal they made was an easy fast-break dunk from LeBron James that tied a game in Memphis. That was followed by a Rudy Gay game-winner over James on the other end of the floor.
Lowest FG%, last 10 seconds of 4th quarter or OT, tie game or down 1-3, 2010-11
So when Gerald Henderson put the Bobcats up 95-94 with a 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds left in Charlotte on Wednesday, the Heat were faced with a situation they had never been able to conquer as a group.
But Dwyane Wade put that issue to bed by getting to the left block and nailing a short bank shot over Henderson that put the Heat up one with 2.9 seconds left. And when D.J. Augustin‘s 3-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer, the Heat accomplished something they could never do last season.
Last season, James was 1-for-7 in those situations. Wade was 0-for-5, but you can probably bet that the next time the Heat need a late bucket, the ball will be in Wade’s hands.