PHILADELPHIA – Dwyane Wade snuffed out one 76ers’ rally by popping a 16-foot fadeaway with the shot clock ticking down. Wade made a halfhearted attempt at reaching his hand out toward a fallen defender before he scooted on his way.
Wade was up, the Sixers were down and suddenly, a series.
The Heat had to have this one — a brooding Joel Embiid is angling for a comeback.
Wade turned in a vintage performance, scoring 28 points to end the 76ers’ 17-game winning streak and lead the Miami Heat to a 113-103 Game 2 win over Philadelphia on Monday night and even the first-round playoff series.
“It’s just in my DNA,” Wade said. “I love the stage.”
The 76ers could soon get their defining Process moment from Embiid.
The Sixers sorely needed Embiid, their All-Star center out with a broken orbital bone, to settle them as they fell in a quick a 16-point hole.
The Sixers lost for the first time since March 13 to Indiana. They won 16 straight to end the regular season and the first game of the playoffs and played their 10th straight game without Embiid.
“You need Joel Embiid,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
Embiid went on Instagram after the game and wrote, “F–king sick and tired of being babied.”
Pack the black mask for Miami.
“Joel is a superstar. Of course we’re missing him offensively, defensively,” Sixers forward Dario Saric said. “He’s a guy who wants to play all the time. I can’t wait for Joel to come back and help us because we’re a better team with him.”
Without him on the floor, the 36-year-old Wade flashed the form of a three-time NBA champion with the Heat, not the journeyman who bounced around the last two seasons with forgettable stints in Chicago and Cleveland.
Wade made 11 of 17 shots and put on a show in the second quarter and put it away in the fourth.
“I saw moments,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what defines Dwyane Wade.”
Even without Embiid, the Sixers trimmed the lead to two points late in the fourth.
Philly fans were going wild and suddenly the home-court edge that had made the Sixers unbeatable for a month seemed like it would perk the team back up for one more notch on the winning streak.
Not so fast.
Ersan Ilyasova made a tip shot to close to 98-96 but Wade answered and stripped Saric and finished on the other end with a basket that steadied the Heat.
The series shifts to Miami for Game 3 on Thursday.
“We played Game 1 like a regular-season game and tonight was a playoff game,” Wade said.
Ben Simmons, who had a triple-double in the opener, led the Sixers with 24 points and Saric had 23.
“I hate this feeling but maybe it’s a good reminder for everybody for next game to lock in,” Simmons said.