Dwyane Wade was back with the Heat on Friday night, coming off the bench for Miami.
As the Heat fell behind 9-0, the crowd chanted, "We want Wade!"
Wade took the court midway through the first quarter as the fans gave him a standing ovation. He immediately grabbed a defensive rebound and threw a lob pass to Hassan Whiteside, who was able to slam home a dunk.
Wade played 22 minutes in Miami's 91-85 win over the Bucks, contributing 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. The win over the Bucks snapped the Heat's five-game losing streak.
"Great energy in the building," Wade said. "When I went out to warm up, it was definitely a playoff atmosphere.
"The crowd was amazing. I missed this crowd."
Wade is Miami's all-time leader in points, games, assists and steals. He was drafted in the first round by Miami in 2003 but left for the Chicago Bulls in 2016, then signed with Cleveland in 2017. Miami acquired him from Cleveland as part of the Cavaliers' deadline-day makeover.
His return seemed to put everybody within the franchise in a good mood Friday, from office workers to head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Before the game, Wade predicted, "It's going to be a great environment."
"It felt like a playoff game," said Whiteside, who had 12 points and 16 rebounds on Friday. "The fans were in an uproar. It felt like a playoff game, and Miami was just rocking. It hadn't felt like that in a while here."
The lower bowl was full before tipoff, an uncommon sight for a typical Heat regular-season game, as fans waited to see their superstar come off the bench.
But no one really saw this coming, not even Spoelstra.
Before Thursday's practice, Spoelstra received updates on possible trades in team president Pat Riley's office. Riley informed him there was a possibility to acquire Luke Babbitt and also Wade.
Spoelstra was about to leave Riley's office when the news sank in.
"What?" Spoelstra said. "Dwyane who?"
Riley explained to Spoelstra about the player movement in the league and that a Wade deal could potentially happen.
"We'll let you know by the end of practice," Riley said.
The coach said, "My only response was, 'Let's go, let's do it.' But it was probably not something any of us foresaw two weeks ago. Crazy things happen in this league, so it just absolutely felt like perfect timing for both parties, and it was actually surreal how quickly it came about."
Wade could hardly wait. But even with the anxiety and excitement circulating the arena on Friday, he was relatively calm and free of nerves.
"I was telling [head coach] Spo after the game that I actually felt normal," Wade said. "He said he felt a little weird seeing me on the bench to start the game, but I actually felt normal. Once the game starts, it becomes a game and you get into it."
Spoelstra remarked that Wade's return and Friday night's victory were what the Heat "needed for the moment."
"Obviously it was special to have Dwyane back in uniform, back on our side in front of the home fans," Spoelstra said. "It felt exactly the way it should. It felt normal. It felt like home. It felt like family. It felt all the things you came to expect with Dwyane.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.