The Miami Heat’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday took the teams’ first-round playoff series in a different direction than some anticipated and provoked very different reactions from a pair of high-profile observers. For sidelined Philadelphia star Joel Embiid, his squad’s 113-103 loss gave him cause to issue a profane complaint about his recovery timetable from a broken eye socket. For actress Gabrielle Union, the huge role that husband Dwyane Wade played in Miami’s win had her promising him an unspecified reward.
Union’s tweet came just after one in which she took issue with the notion that Wade’s performance, in which he led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting while adding seven rebounds, three assists and some key defensive plays, was all the more impressive because of his age.
Wade sealed the win with a step-back jumper over Ben Simmons, putting the Heat up eight with 45 seconds left. As the ball swished through the net, Wade stared down Kevin Hart, who was standing courtside next to Allen Iverson.
“What got into you tonight?” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne asked Wade in a postgame interview.
“Kevin Hart,” Wade responded. “Thank Kevin Hart for that.”
During his 16th NBA season, in which Wade turned 36, he averaged the lowest numbers of his career in most major statistical categories. But he offered a reminder Monday that he can still summon a clutch postseason effort.
“He. Does. This. This ain’t ‘vintage’ & he didn’t ‘turn back the clock,'” Union said on Twitter, adding that Wade, to whom she has been married since 2014, has “BEEN doing this & he CONTINUES to do this.”
Union continues to maintain a lively, and at times feisty, online presence and has often provided entertaining takes on Wade’s games. After a 2016 playoff contest, the NBA referees’ Twitter account responded directly to Union’s complaints that her husband was the victim of an egregious no-call, and last year she had some fun with a dunk he missed, joking that it was karmic retribution for his failure to put the toilet seat down.
Embiid has had less fun watching the 76ers compete without him, having undergone surgery after accidentally butting heads with teammate Markelle Fultz in late March. Embiid was fitted for a protective mask and cleared from the NBA’s concussion protocol, but he was still ruled out of Game 2, in which the Heat bounced back from a lopsided opening loss in which it appeared Philadelphia might easily take the series even without its star center.
Instead, the Sixers lost home-court advantage and could have a protracted fight on their hands, causing Embiid to take his phone into his hands and post a notable lament on an Instagram story. “F—ing sick and tired of being babied,” he told his social-media followers.
Philadelphia Coach Brett Brown might feel much the same way, to judge from his postgame comments. “You need Joel Embiid,” Brown said. ” … I felt tonight it was a really strong example of how you wished you had him.”
Embiid was already considered a solid bet to be deemed fit to play in Game 3, and the 76ers’ loss makes his return all the more likely. Meanwhile, there were plenty of jokes about how quickly Wade was returning home from Philadelphia, following his wife’s intriguing tweet.
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