Hornets
Heat
111 - 103 Final - OT
  for this game

Wade makes long-awaited return; Heat lose to Bobcats

Apr 9, 2007 - 4:43 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade finally made his return but Walter Herrmann and the Charlotte Bobcats stole the show.

Herrmann score 15 points and hit two 3-pointers in the final minute of overtime to give the Bobcats a 111-103 victory over the Miami Heat in the first game of a home-and-home series.

In his first action since missing 23 games due to injury, Wade made a fadeaway jumper that pulled the Heat within one point and then he tied the game at 92-92 with 2.4 seconds left by making the back end of two free throws to send the game into overtime.

Wade had three points and four assists in a 16-2 run that saw Miami tie the game at 78-78, but Charlotte outscored the Heat, 19-11, in the extra session.

"We didn't feel sorry for ourselves," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Walter (Herrmann) hit some big shots. We had 20 steals tonight so our deflections were really, really good. We just laced up our shoestrings in overtime."

Alonzo Mourning added a season-high 20 points off the bench for Miami, which had won 16 of its last 18 at home.

Wade, a three-time All-Star who suffered a separated shoulder in a 112-102 loss to the Houston Rockets on February 21, decided to rehabilitate the injury rather than have season-ending surgery after meeting with famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews on March 5.

The combo guard came off the bench to a standing ovation with 3:58 left in the first quarter and immediately began making plays.

"It shows the love of the fans here and it felt great to get their support," Wade said of the ovation. "(It's)just nice to be back on the court again and now it's just a matter of getting back in the flow."

Wade said Easter Sunday was the appropriate time for him to get back on the court.

"I just felt like this was the day," he said. "It's resurrection day, isn't it, so I decided this was a good day to resurrect."

The 2006 NBA Finals MVP finished with 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting and eight assists in 27 minutes but also contributed six of Miami's season-high 26 turnovers and shot just 6-of-12 from the line. Overall, Miami shot just 59 percent (26-of-44) from the line.

"It amazes me; it's one of those game we didn't bring it," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "When you don't play as hard as you can play, and you make 26 turnovers and the other team is shooting over 50 percent, you're going to have a real difficult time. Plus, when you miss 18 free throws, I don't see how you can win."

Wade was a little rusty from the long layoff, but that was to be expected.

"We were out of sync," Wade said. "I had some turnovers and missed some free throws, but you know me, that won't happen again."

Wearing a protective black sleeve over his left shoulder, the superstar guard primarily handled the point guard duties and aggressively attacked the basket and dished to open teammates.

"I wore the pad to keep it warm and loose," Wade said. "The first half it felt good and then when I got back in there late in the game and in overtime, it felt fine and that's encouraging."

The 25-year-old Wade had returned to practice earlier in the week.

"He came to me and said he wanted to play today," Riley said. "I thought we had his minutes going pretty good. Probably about 20 minutes is what we talked about. But then again, it's a big game. He said he felt pretty good."

Riley did not seemed worried about the risk of Wade re-aggravating the injury.

"He's one of the most courageous players in the league," Riley said. "He's a fearless player. He's done everything he can do to test his shoulder."

Wade played without caution, despite the fact that a hard fall on the shoulder or an overextension could cause another separation and end his season.

"It will take time for Dwyane to get back into the flow and for the team to get on the same page with him and get used to him being out there again," said Jason Kapono, who was on the receiving end of a few assists from Wade.

The fifth pick in the 2003 draft, Wade hit his first free throw with 53 seconds left in the first quarter and finished with three points and four assists in seven minutes in the first half.

He re-entered the game with 6:22 left in the third period and the Heat trailing, 67-56. Wade missed his first jumper and then hit the deck while making a pass, but he bounced up quickly.

Wade took another hit late in the fourth, this time on his injured shoulder when he and Charlotte's Emeka Okafor collided, but he seemed unfazed by the contact. Wade scored his first field goal with under 10 minutes left in the game as part of a 16-2 run that tied the score at 78-78.

"Once I took that first hit I wasn't worried at all," Wade said. "It really wasn't a concern anyway, but when I got into the flow and got banged around a little and the shoulder felt fine, I knew everything would be OK."

Gerald Wallace had 30 points and nine rebounds to go with four steals for the Bobcats. Raymond Felton added 16 points and six assists for Charlotte, which had all five starters in double figures in winning for the first time ever in Miami.

Wallace, who fell hard on his arm and wrist on an alley-oop attempt, did not speak to reporters because he was getting treatment. The team said it is nothing major.

Despite Wade's return and Mourning's performance, the Heat (42-35) had their three-game winning streak snapped and fell two games behind the Toronto Raptors (44-33) for the Eastern Conference's third playoff spot.

The two teams meet on Tuesday in the last meeting of the season in Charlotte.








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