"I knew that at some point in the game, it was going to hit me that this was the last time we were competing against each other", Wade said. "Me and you. One on one". "'Me and you one on one, just let me shoot it and go for it'". "But I'm going to miss the shit out of this".
They still got that last showdown, one on one with the game on the line.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade played their final National Basketball Association game against each other on Monday at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
To the final moment in their 16 seasons of simultaneous stardom, these rivals and teammates competed with passion and love.
"It was either here or at the Garden, that's it", said James.
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"You want to be competitive but it was awesome being in this game". "That's it. That's the only place we can end this man". James scored 28 points, and the Lakers survived Wade's 15-point performance in the second half. When the trio was together in South Beach from 2010 to 2014, they went to the finals all four years and won back-to-back championships within that span. Spoelstra was with both players through the ugly NBA Finals losses, prestigious award victories and fantastic winning streaks.
The game (...and the epic series between the two) ended with LeBron James guarding his closest friend in the National Basketball Association and player closest to his legacy, on the final possession.
They funneled each other to drive to their more uncomfortable sides, and James forced Wade to attempt a 27-foot turnaround, fadeaway 3-pointer that missed badly with 7.2 seconds left. They also got to guard each other down the stretch, their teammates stepping back to allow the superstars to revel in the spotlight.
"Absolutely", said Brown. "I'll start with D-Wade. I gave whatever I had to the game" he mentioned. James forced Wade to take an off-balance three-point shot, which ultimately bounced off the glass.
Kyle Kuzma led the winners with a game-high 33 points.
The 31st meeting of the two men finished with a victory for James, who seized control of the contest in the fourth quarter to finish with 28 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists.