INDIANAPOLIS – Dwyane Wade's return to form for the Miami Heat came with an assist from Indiana University coach Tom Crean.
Crean coached Wade in college at Marquette University, and the two have remained close over the years. So after Wade played one of his worst playoff games of his career in a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, he needed a boost.
Enter Crean. The coach met with Wade during at the IU campus on Friday during Miami's off day.
Rejuvenated by the visit, Wade scored 30 points with nine rebounds and six assists as the Heat beat the Pacers 101-93 on Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, evening their Eastern Conference semifinals series at two games apiece.
“We had a long day, long hours of conversation talking about a lot of things,” Wade said. “It was great to get away and get that energy I needed from him.”
Wade calls Crean a father figure as well as a coach, and the coach was in full form during their meeting.
Crean had film of Wade's recent play, both good and bad, and the two watched the action together.
“They have a great team up there and he had film for me of my missed shots and my made shots, so I could see both,” Wade said. “I had film also when I got back to my hotel room. We have a great staff that makes sure to put together all my edits. I was able to be a student of the game.”
Wade and his teammate, LeBron James, ignited the Heat in a 30-16 third-quarter that helped them seize control and even the series.
During one stretch, Wade and James combined to score 38 straight points for the Heat.
Wade scored only five points in the loss on Thursday, and didn't start well Sunday. He missed seven of his first eight shots. But he followed that by hitting 12 of his next 13.
James, meanwhile, scored 40 points with 18 rebounds and nine assists.
“This was one of those must-win games for us,” Wade said. “It was a huge game because we gave one away in Miami. So we came out in the third quarter with a sense of urgency.”
The teams will resume their series on Tuesday night in Miami.