After suffering a 27-point slap by the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1, the Heat responded with a gritty 113-103 victory to even the series heading back to Miami thanks to a throwback performance by the three-time champion.
Wade scored a game-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting, while also making a series of clutch plays in the fourth that rescued what was nearly a humiliating collapse by Miami.
The Sixers initially dared Wade to score, which was a mistake in retrospect.
Wade consistently got free off the high screen, and he found his rhythm by effortlessly walking into wide-open midrange shots. He made his first seven shots, and the Sixers suddenly found themselves scrambling for answers.
Each successive make bred confidence, as Wade started digging deeper into his bag of tricks. Philadelphia played him tighter and shuffled through a series of adjustments, but Wade kept inventing counters.
When he had a smaller defender on him, the 36-year-old set up shop in the post before launching a series of turnaround jumpers. When the Sixers put a bigger man on him, Wade cleverly negotiated space with the side-step jumper. When they stuck tight to him off a screen, Wade either put the defender on his hip and drove to the rim, or he pulled out his trusty pump fake to draw a foul.
While Wade was on the bench, the Sixers launched a torrid push that cut the 17-point lead down to just two points, but that stopped once he returned.
With the Sixers looking to tie or take the lead with four minutes left, Wade made a brilliant game-changing gamble by blitzing Dario Saric with a surprise double team that produced a steal and streaking dunk that pushed it to four.
On the next possession, the Sixers doubled Wade at the top of the floor, but he cleverly delivered a bullet pass to a cutting James Johnson for an open dunk that pushed the lead to six.
And finally, with the Sixers on the ropes, it was Wade who delivered the knockout blow with a cool side-step jumper over Ben Simmons.
"When I came back in, it was just to calm everything down, and make the right play. I was confident that we had control of the game, and we made some plays," Wade said after the game.