Wade then took the microphone and said all the festivities “mean everything to me.” He only spoke for a few minutes at halftime, but before the game he was really reflective and talked deeply about how his experience at MU had shaped him. “Coming up here and thinking about this day and thinking about 19 years ago I walked on campus in 2000,” Wade said. “Just a shy kid from Chicago and I had some talent in basketball.
Dion Waiters is not consciously attempting to conjure his inner Vinnie Johnson. But if playing as the Miami Heat’s version of The Microwave is his path to playing time, then he is more than willing to have that button pushed. “I don’t know, we got a lot of guys who could do that,” Waiters said. “I ain’t going to sit here and lie to you and say, ‘yeah.’ I always try to tell the truth. But right now, that’s my role and I just got to do what I got to do for right now and whatever is asked of me. It’s just being ready, man, I guess.”
“I never lose my confidence,” he said. “It’s always going to be there. I just went out there and played basketball. I just tried to put everything behind me, the frustration and everything like that, just tried to go out there with a clear mind. At the end of the day, I can’t control everything else, but I can control what I can control, and that’s my emotions and my energy. I just wanted to go in there with a clear mind and just play.”
“Look, we have a deep team,” coach Erik Spoelstra said before turning his attention to Monday’s game against the Boston Celtics at the close of this four-game trip. “The strength of our team is our depth. For guys that are working their way back in, such as Dion, it’s not easy. The minutes aren’t guaranteed. You have to leave an impression during the games, and that’s what he did. He made his minutes memorable.”
Ira Winderman: Monday will mark Erik Spoelstra’s 849th regular-season game as Heat coach, tying Pat Riley’s franchise record. Third on the list is Kevin Loughery, with 292 regular-season Heat games coached, followed by Ron Rothstein (246) Stan Van Gundy (185) and Alvin Gentry (36).