NEW YORK — Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was so sick with a stomach flu Tuesday afternoon that all he managed to eat were three pieces of dry toast and two bananas.
“I had to eat something bland, but that’s all I could eat,” Wade said.
But with the Heat already without forward Chris Bosh with a calf injury, Wade knew that he had to play.
“I had to take it on my shoulders,” said Wade, who battled through the illness to score a game-high 28 points, 17 of which came in the first half, leading the Heat to a 95-91 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night in a game that was delayed for a half hour in the first quarter due to a leaky roof.
“If I showed up at the gym, I had to give it a go,” Wade said. “I was just trying to be aggressive. I sure got the ball enough and shot enough. At certain times, I felt all right, but there were other times I didn’t. I just had to get out here and play. If I wasn’t going to play, I could have stayed all night in the hotel and got some rest. I guess I made the right decision.”
The Heat (12-13), who won for only the third time in their last nine games, were in the midst of a 10-0 run that wrapped around a rare 31-minute delay, when a leak was spotted in the roof of the Barclays Center, allowing water to fall directly onto the floor.
With the Heat holding a 24-21 lead and 1:47 remaining in the first quarter, the game was suspended until Barclays Center officials located a tarpaulin that was stretched across the area of the roof where the water was leaking through, catching the water and enabling the game to continue. Later in the half, it was learned that the leak was caused by the installation of a new green roof.
By the time the game was resumed, the Nets were in severe trouble, as the Heat went on a decisive 15-4 run, highlighted by two jump shots from guard Mario Chalmers and a bucket from Wade.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra knew that Wade was going to play right before the team went out for pregame warm-ups.
“He was with us all day, but once I saw him here, I knew he would give it a shot,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t wish anything bad against Dwyane, but I hope he’s just as sick tomorrow.”
Forward Luol Deng, who added 18 points, drained a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Heat a 33-25 lead at the end of the first quarter, a lead they never relinquished.
The Nets (10-13) were led by center Mason Plumlee, who had a season-high 21 points, and forward Joe Johnson, who added 16. Guard Deron Williams had 15 points and 11 assists. They were looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Guard Sergey Karasev scored 11 points, but left the game in the third quarter with a hip injury and didn’t return.
Guard Shabazz Napier, just recalled from a brief stint in the NBA Developmental League, added 11 points off the bench, while forward Shawne Williams, a former Net, and Chalmers each added 10, also in reserve roles.
Wade was explosive in the first half, scoring 17 points, as the Heat held a 55-45 lead at halftime. It’s the highest first-half point total the Nets allowed at home all season.
“Wade just made a statement that he’s still a special player,” Nets head coach Lionel Hollins said. “He made a big statement in the first half. He wanted to come out and carry them and he did that.”
“Our best offense all night came through Dwyane,” Spoelstra said. “Our guys are really competing and playing with passion.”
Spoelstra said he was happy about the way his team defended.
“It was good to see our guys compete at that end, because I told them today that we have to fall back on our old mentality, which is being a defensive-minded team,” Spoelstra said. “It’s been our focus for a while.”
It was the third straight game that Miami held the opponent under 100 points.
After the Nets trailed by as many as 15 at one point, they sliced the lead to 58-57 with 8:15 left in the third quarter on a jumper from Johnson. But the Heat outscored the Nets 19-10 the rest of the way, as Miami led 76-66 heading into the fourth period.
The Nets went on a 7-0 run to slice the lead to 85-79, but Wade answered with a baseline jumper to quell the comeback.
The Nets cut the lead to 93-91 with 35.1 seconds left on consecutive 3-pointers from guards Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanovic. But Deng drained two free throws with 11.8 seconds remaining to ice the victory.
“It was good to see us have that winning mentality, especially on the road,” Spoelstra said.
Hollins said the early deficit made things difficult for his team.
“After we fell behind after the break, we were scrambling for the rest of the game,” Hollins said. “We tried to keep it close, but then we would miss a shot or turn the ball over. When we needed to, we just couldn’t make a shot.”
NOTES: Both teams played Tuesday night without their best post presence. Heat C Chris Bosh sat out with a strained left calf and Nets C Brook Lopez missed his fifth straight game with a lower back strain. … The Heat lost F Josh McRoberts for the season last weekend with a torn meniscus in his knee. … Heat G Dwyane Wade was a game-time decision because of an illness but was in the starting lineup. … Nets C Mason Plumlee reached double figures in points and rebounds in the team’s wins over Philadelphia and Charlotte, the first time he achieved that in his career. Plumlee is averaging 10.2 points and 8.0 rebounds in the five games he has started in Lopez’s absence. … The Nets used their seventh different starting lineup in their last seven games. … The Nets honored superfan Jeffrey Gamblero during a pregame ceremony. Gamblero, a fixture at all home games who used to dance in the stands and entertain fans, died after a fall from a two-story house in Queens last Saturday night. Gamblero, who wore a neon green No. 44 Brooklyn jersey at all home games, was 38 years old.
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