Wade’s 31 helps Miami beat Orlando 91-81

1

- The Heat looked to hold on to the best home record in the league at 18-2, where they average .496% field goal shooting and .395% from three point land.

- Dwight Howard is still in a Magic uniform.

- Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh kicked off the night offensively for Miami, solely contributing for the Heat’s first twelve points.

- Every time Miami wears their “El Heat” jerseys, I am brought back to this moment.

 

- Chris Bosh started very strong , playing agressively in the post, going 5/5 on field goals midway through the first quarter (all of which were in the paint). Van Gundy paired both Howard and Chris Anderson on Bosh to no avail.

- The Orlando Magic are only paying Ryan Anderson $2,244,601 this year. Talk about a steal! The guy is putting up 16 points, 8 rebounds and is leading the entire league with 122 made three pointers. To put this into perspective, Kris Humphries is averaging 13.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game with absolutely no other worth outside of that and is making eight million dollars this season. To put it further into perspective, Rashard Lewis is averaging 7.8 points per game, 4 rebounds and averaging a miserable .239% from downtown and is making an utterly unbelievable 22 millions dollars this season (second highest in the league behind Kobe Bryant). A contract that the Orlando Magic originally inked!

- Lebron didn’t get his first bucket until the first quarter nearly ended. It was a rough game for him.

- Miami dominated the first quarter, ending with 67% shooting.

2

- Bosh continued to be on fire, opening with his sixth consecutive completion, giving him 14 points.

- In my opinion, Stan Van Gundy is the coach of the year. He probably won’t win the award, but deserves recognition for keeping this team together and focused amidst the never ending Dwight Howard parade.

- The fourteen point Heat lead was quickly erased to a three point lead after a series of events that included, but was not limited to; Dwight Howard tossing Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman around like rag dolls, impressive offensive flow for the magic and great ball movement, and great defense highlighted by Quintin Richardson’s physical defense on Lebron James.

- Seriously, Q-Rich did some work on Lebron, holding King James to 14 points on 4/14 shooting. A tip of the hat to Mr. Richardson.

- The Magic maintained control through most of the second quarter, ending the half only down 50-47. Orlando was 4/12 on three’s, and Miami had yet to attempt a shot from downtown.

3

- Dwight Howard showcased some impressive baseline moves. He definitely has a diverse offensive game, connecting in a number of ways.

- The league needs to address the issue of consistency on charge calls.

- Orlando played fantastic defense cutting off Miami’s fast paced transitions. They controlled the pace of the game.

- The Heat’s lack of depth at PG is able to be overcome. Their lack of depth at Center is a completely different and pressing issue.

4

- Five turnovers kicked off what was a very energetic start to the fourth quarter.

- The game was very evenly matched. It seemed as if a second consecutive overtime was innevitable.

- Until Wade went off.

- Wade scored twelve consecutive points for the Heat, aiding them to an eight point lead. He was on fire. He buried the game with two minutes left finishing with 31 points in a much needed Heat win.

Dwight Howard in a Heat uniform

The drama surrounding the impending free agency of Dwight Howard took a small, probably insignificant, but undeniably interesting turn today. Previously, Howard’s short list of desired destinations was limited to Los Angeles, Dallas or New Brooklyn. Any other team interested in trading for Howard would do so with the risk of only renting Howard for the remainder of the season, as he could walk a free agent this summer.

But according to a report Monday from Sports Illustrated, Howard would be interested in joining the Miami Heat in South Florida if the Orlando Magic choose not to trade him before the deadline.

Let’s catch our breath for a moment.

The only way that Miami could possibly make this work is to trade the contract of one of their Big Three (Bosh, Wade or James) to the Magic.

Under most circumstances the Heat organization would never even consider trading a piece of what they worked so hard to put together. The summer of 2010 and acquisition of three of the most coveted free agents in the sport was arguably the single most impressive feat of any sports organization… ever.

Dwight Howard is the best all around center the NBA has seen since the prime of Shaq, and puts up numbers comparable to Olajuwon, Kareem, and Russell.

Shaq+Olajuwon+Kareem+Russell = 21 combined championship rings .

Great big men win rings. At least most of them (Sorry Knicks fans).

And if anyone understands the value of a world class center, it’s Pat Riley. He’s coached, contended, and won five championships with three of the ten greatest centers of all time. It is difficult to imagine Riley not considering this in some way.

Howard with James or Wade (most likely both) = at least four to five rings. Hate aside, emotion aside; pairing that type of talent together would be an unmatched display of dominance. It would honestly be unfair.

Is it possible? Yes.

Is it likely? Not at all.

Even if the Miami Heat crash and burn and go ringless for the second consecutive season. It would take something huge. The Heat were able to sign Bosh, James and Wade by selling them a unified vision. The three wanted to play together, because of how close they are off the court, and the rings they believed they would accumulate on the court. Miami has made this happen through trust, a sense of trust that would be betrayed if they traded on of their current Big Three for Howard.

No matter how promising the results would be.

Conclusions. Heat 93 Pacers 91.

1

- What a hell of a game.

- The last time the Pacers came to Miami, Lebron James was a man possessed putting up 33 points, 8 rebounds, 13 assists and 2 steals as Miami cruised to victory, 118-83. A performance I personally witnessed.

- Indiana is coming to Miami on a two game losing streak.

- Wade came out very strong and very physical, even playing in the post a bit. He put up eight points on 4/4 shooting in the first 5 minutes.

- Even without a star player, the Pacers are very fun to watch. They are agressive defensively, and very well rounded offensively. They are one player away from contending. It’ll be difficult for them to make a trade before the deadline, but should give serious consideration to spending some money on a quality free agent.

- Miami’s inability to guard the three is killing them this season. Indiana hit 3/4 from downtown in the first quarter.

- Indiana played good old fashioned Hoosiers basketball, playing selfless, smart and protecting the ball well with only one turnover in the first quarter.

- The Pacers dominated the Heat, closing the quarter 26-17, keeping Miami to 38% shooting.

2

- Miami opened an uninspired first quarter with four consecutive turnovers in the second quarter. Everyone participated in the turnover game, with Lebron, Miller, Bosh and Battier all contributing.

- They were 0/4 on 3 point shooting as well.

- The Pacers were up by as many as 12 midway through the second. It was looking fairly dismal.

- Battier and Bosh were in la-la land. They ended the first half with a combined 2-9 shooting (0/3 from downtown) and four turnovers.

- Mike Miller sprained his left ankle, it looked painful. He did not return for the rest of the game.

- Wade was the only sign of life for the Heat as he had 22 of the Heat’s 39 points. He continually proves himself to be the best first half player in the league, leading the league averaging 15.1 first-half points. Even deeper into this is D Wade’s fascinating PER difference between the halves. Wade has an astonishing first half PER of 36.3. Astonishing. Second half? A very ordinary 16.8. Interesting stuff.

- But alas! Defense! The Heat improved rotation and tweaked some matchups and were able to cut the lead to five.

- Is there anything more frustrating than a player missing a technical free throw at home? (Chalmers!)

- Miami ended the period on an 18-5 run and trailed 39-43. The Pacers hit six three points on nine attempts. Miami was 0/5.

3

- It was not Lebron’s day. Indiana did a great job of playing physically with him in transition, fouling him and not allowing him to finish. James seemed frustrated and unable to establish any sense of offensive rhythm.

- The Heat had a 26-14 advantage in the third with points in the paint.

- Joel Anthony had two consecutive field goals. This led to a delusional sense of confidence for Anthony and the Heat as he would go on to miss two more field goals and give up a turnover.

- The third quarter chugged along very slowly.

- Dexter Pittman needs a lot of work. 4 fouls in three minutes.

- The third quarter ended with the Pacers up 61-60.

4

- Spo opened the 4th with a lineup of Cole, James at the 2, Battier, Haslem and Bosh.

- Although the Pacers game plan of being very physical with Lebron did throw off his offensive game, they went a little foul crazy, going into the penalty two minutes into the 4th.

- Lebron and Bosh were borderline awful until about six minutes left in the fourth, then the whole game was thrown into overdrive, everyone awake and alert.

- The end of the period was just wild. Back and forth.

- Lebron took the game over. He shook off any struggles of the previous three and a half quarters and lit up the Pacers on both ends. Steals, dunks, layups, you name it. He had 13 points in the first three quarters and 11 in the fourth.

- The Pacers kept pace, with key layups from Collison and Hibbert and a timely jumper from Granger.

- Clutch? 10 seconds left, Lebron takes the game over, impacting every inch of the court, doing what he does better than anyone else. He buries a three tying the game. Collison then brings the ball up court, James steps up to defend, and is able to draw a jump ball with .3 second remaining in the game.

OT

- The Pacers got off to a quick start, Granger connecting from 20 feet and Hibbert in the post. The Pacers were up by five.

- Clutch? Lebron misses two free throws. Wade missed one. The Pacers are up by three.

- Clutch? Lebron sinks another three.

- Granger missed a three pointer. D Wade hold the ball at the top of the half, clock winding down. American Airlines Arena is on their feet. This was intense.

- Clutch? Wade hits an unbelievable 22 foot jump shot while attempting to draw the foul. He does not get the call, but the Heat take the lead with .1 seconds left and finish the game.

- Simply brilliant stuff. The Heat overcame adversity, especially recent scrutiny over Lebron James’ late game decisions. Tonight the two leaders of the team proved their ability to both come up big in the clutch, and allow the other to shine when need be it. Although initially unexpected, this was a huge game for the Miami Heat.

- The Heat are now 6-1 in games decided by five points or less (last year they were 6-14). They hope to continue the momentum against Orlando and Chicago next week.

Rose, Love, Lakers, and some buzzer beaters

Is there anything more exciting in all of sports than a game winning buzzer beater in basketball? Walk off homer in the 9th surely competes, as with any late/game changing 80+ yard play in the NFL. And an argument could be made for penalty kicks in soccer or the NHL.

But buzzer beaters are just so utterly dramatic. The shot clock winding down… a single player with the game on the line… the ball leaving his hands to the deafening sound of the buzzer… and the image of the ball connecting in the hoop against the neon-red outline of the game clock on the backboard.

Can’t beat it.

-Today’s ESPN Top Ten had some thrilling highlights. But D Rose’s buzzer beater vs. the Bucks last night was simply brilliant.

His confidence, poise, and natural killer instincts seem to sharpen by the day. The NBA is a league dominated by amazing point guards; miles ahead of any other position. It is very, very, very, very difficult to establish a current top five PG list. Paul, Williams, Rando, Westbrook, Nash, Nelson (just kidding) all could be arranged in any order from 1-5 and an argument could be made for any of them to be at the top.

But Derreck Rose is playing just flat out ridiculous. And has been for a while.

- I’m sure you’ve heard/read/saw that Kevin Love won the three point competition over All Star Weekend in Orlando. What you may hear less of is just how dominant of a player this guy really is.

Kevin Love is the most underrated player in the NBA. He is averaging 25 points, 14 rebounds and a steal a game. Love contributed 29 points on 9/17 shooting and grabbed 16 rebounds in their 106-94 victory over the Trailblazers last night. With 21 victories they are halfway through a shortened season and have already won four more games than all of last year. They are currently holding the eighth seed in the Wester Conference, and are a young, explosive side that no team wants to see in the playoffs.

It’s more than just the stats, as much it is about his ability to stretch the court as he is an offensive threat from the interior just as much as the perimeter.  Plus he’s dependable night in and night out. The kid always comes to play.

- So much for theory that the victory over Miami on Sunday was supposed to be a turning point for the Lakers’ season. After dominating the Heat, Kobe and crew have lost their last two games to the Pistons and Wizards. The combined victories of the two teams was 21 games compared to the Lakers 22 wins.

Questions over Mike Brown’s coaching abilities have inevitably come into question, as he questioned Kobe’s offensive decision making late in the game. Brown has done a fabulous job of coaching the Lakers this season, but can only go so far with a team that seems flat-out uninspired at times. How else could you rationalize blowing a 21 point lead against the third worse team in the league.

L.A. needs a trade. Desperately.

As for Kobe’s shooting in the fourth. His selection was a little iffy, and he went cold at all the wrong times. But Kobe has proven himself to be one of, if not THE most clutch player in the history of the league. He is not a big man, he does not play near the rim. He is a shooter. And shooter’s go cold sometimes. It happens.

Sometimes, the opposite happens and you can’t seem to miss.

This one still stings for me. I was watching this game with my roommate and die hard Laker fan. The second Kobe had the ball I had a feeling he would take a three to bury the game. My roommate cheered in ecstasy. I wept in disbelief.

Ugly shot, yes. Lucky shot, yes.

But exciting and utterly dramatic.

Can’t beat it.

Conclusions. Heat 108 New Jersey 78.

This game was all about Bosh. And the throwback ABA Miami Floridian Jerseys. Funkadelic.

1

- The Miami Floridians vs. the New York Nets. I love the 70′s retro throwback jerseys.

-This game was all about Chris Bosh

- The Net’s were without their second best player as Brook Lopez remained inactive with an ankle injury. Given the lack of their front court presence, the Nets looked to compete with their perimeter play

- The Heat looked very excited to be back home, playing in front of an electric, sold out crowd at the American Airlines Arena. Lebron James even tweeted about it, check here.

- The Heat had great early ball movement and rotation on their defense. The Nets were cold from the perimeter, particularly from beyond the arc.

- This game was over before it started.

- Marshon Brooks is a promising young talent for the Nets. He was able to make space for himself with Wade guarding him. He is the second highest scoring rookie in the league.

- Wade, James, Bosh, Chalmers… Anthony. If any contender was in need of a serious upgrade it is Miami. Joel is a decent defender and hard worker, but he has no business starting on this team. He would be a fantastic element to the second unit behind… Chris Kaman… (Fingers crossed)

- Stating the obvious, but D Will is such a Baller. (That is Baller with a capital B) He will have a very bright future if he remains with the Nets. He’ll be the face of a franchise that will eventually contend. Their move from Jersey to Brooklyn sets him up with the ability to be the basketball god and hero to the most populated borough in the largest city in America. They have a great coach, a great organization, a young team, and cap space to sign free agents. He would be stupid to leave the Nets.

- Bosh played inspired basketball both offensively and defensively.

- James played as efficient as ever.

- Wade highlighted the night with a completely ridiculous falling-no look-sideways layup. Over or under, number two on ESPN’s top ten tomorrow. (skip to 18 second mark to see)

 

- Miami played extremely fast off the break tonight. Jersey didn’t even know what hit them.

- The Heat ended the first quarter up 30-17 on 70% shooting

2

- The 2nd quarter was lead by Cole, Mattier, Miller, Haslem and Bosh

- The ball rotation was simply gorgeous, highlighted by a Bosh-to-Miller-to Battier-to-Cole-for-three play

- This unit put Miami up by twenty two points, capping a 15-0 run

- Bosh was 7 for 10 halfway through the second with 14 points

- The NBA has the best marketing team out of any professional sport. The cinematography is stunning, the ideas are always compelling, and the message is always clear.

The bobblehead commercial to kick off the NBA season was classic

 

The “NBA Forever” commercial still sends chills down my spine

 

And I saw this Dirk commercial for the first time tonight. Brilliant.

- Norris Cole played well offensively, finishing with 13 points on five for seven shooting. He had no chance in hell guarding Deron Williams though

- Dexter Pittman finished with 10 points and Joel Anthony scored on an off balanced eight footer… Is this heaven?

- Avery Johnson had no answers. You almost felt bad for the man as he played all eleven of his eligible players midway through the second quarter. He tried different lineups, tweaking something here, changing something there… Nothing could stop the Heat as they lead 64-37 at the half on 66% shooting and holding the Nets to 38% shooting.

3

- Any hopes the Nets had of opening the second half with a burst of energy and knock off some of their deficit, were immediately shot to shit as Chalmers nailed a three, extending the lead to thirty points

- Battier and Chalmers did well guarding Williams. After netting 57 last night he was held to  16 points and 4 assists. Granted he didn’t play much in the fourth quarter.

- Wade rolled his ankle for the second time in the past two games, the same ankle that sidelined him for six games earlier this season. He went out early in the third and never re-entered. The injury does not look serious, as Wade was on the bench, smiling through the final quarters and dismissing the personal trainers. More news to come

- Deron Williams has one of the fastest releases in the game. It’s just flat out stupid. He will catch the ball from a pass, and a millisecond later, it’s bound for the rim… usually ending in a field goal

- If the Nets can acquire Dwight Howard and get a a few decent role players, it’s over. That will be the greatest 1/5 combo in the history of the NBA.

- Lebron finished the third quarter by banking a buzzer beater (some nifty alliteration there for you) some fifteen feet past the three point arc, sending the American Airlines Arena into a frenzy. It would be his last action of the game.

4

- The fourth quarter lineup consisted of Cole, Johnson (yes), Miller, Haslem and Pittman. When you hear those names combined in the same sentence, it’s probably the 4th quarter of a Heat blowout win.

- And then when you see Juwan Howard in, it’s definitely the 4th quarter of a Heat blowout win.

- Heat vs Hawks tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

Bosh back verse the Nets

With all the hoopla and attention surrounding Dwayne Wade and Lebron James, it’s easy to forget about the other Heat player making $16,022,500.00 this season.

Just for a little extra emphasis; that is sixteen million, twenty-two thousand and five hundred dollars.

[And if you want to add a little more “umph” to that, ESPN has this really, really fun tool on their website that enables you to calculate how long it takes a professional athlete to make your annual salary.

Talk about ways to raise ones spirits.

Since I was already researching Chris Bosh, I decided to see how long it takes him to earn as much as I earn in an entire year. Apparently my insignificant and pitiful excuse for a yearly income is made by Chris Bosh in the first 2.75 minutes of the season; and as the website so eloquently stated, “[I] will need to work 917.5 years in order to make Chris Bosh’s annual salary.”

You can see my results here, or if you wish to form your own personal feelings of jealousy, anger, rounded off with a paralyzing sense of disgust, continue here.]

Chris Bosh is returning tonight after a three game absence after attending his grandmother’s funeral. The Heat are 2-1 in the stretch, suffering losses to both the Lakers and the Jazz. The team initially expected him to miss two games and be back in time for the Lakers, but understandably needed an extra day to console with his family.

After all, family first. Even Lebron tweeted the other day “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again…(No doubt! Godfather classic quote)”

Friday night in Utah the Heat were out rebounded 50-32, and 44-35 at the Staples Center on Sunday.

Chris Bosh has been missed.

Both in his tangibles (8.3 rebounds, 18.4 points) and intangibles (putting a big body on the floor and his intense… intensity). Offensively the Heat were able to compensate after good performances from Battier (18 points vs the Jazz) and Chalmers (15 points verse the Lakers). But Bosh has been missed most on the defensive end. According to The ESPN Archive, Miami has held opposing teams to 96.9 points per 100 possessions. Compare that to the last three games where opposing teams averaged 105.9 points per 100 possessions vs the Heat.

The Heat hope to turn around tonight against the New Jersey Nets, and attempt to contain Deron Williams after he torched the Bobcats for 57 points.

Chemistry is a very delicate and intricate part of the NBA, arguably much more so than any other professional sport. Bosh’s presence was missed both on and off the court, as Wade said today “It was very good to see him. You notice how much you miss the guy. We had a little bromance moment. I wanted to hug him.”

Chalmers; All things considered.

English: Mario Chalmers playing with the Miami...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most significant improvements for the Heat this season has been the play of Mario Chalmers.

He’s had ups, he’s had downs, but this season he is showing his ability to direct his talent and elevate his game.

Rio has gone from a developing NBA talent to a well-versed veteran.

And he’s only in his third year.

What has attributed to this is not only his natural talent and drive, but his experience in the NBA.

In the March issue of ESPN the magazine, independent NBA researcher James Tarlow calculated that the average player in the NBA wins 1.31 playoff games for ever four years in the league.

In Mario Chalmers’ first three years in the league, he has attributed to 18 post season wins for the Heat.

He wasn’t always a significant contributor, but Rio has seen more than 15 times the amount of postseason wins in his first three years than his NBA peers.

Playing alongside Wade, James and Bosh, it’s easy to understand how anxiety and pressure to perform may have contributed to his mercurial play.

But Chalmers seems to have broken out of his shell this season. He has played alongside future hall of famers for years now, and is soaking in every possible lesson and attributing them on the court. His play has bettered this season both in measured statistics and intangibles. His .446% 3 point field goal shooting is ninth in the league.

In comparison, Jason Terry of the Mavericks has made 76 three point shots compared to Chalmers 70. But Terry is 64th on the list of accuracy.

More over less, Chalmers is competing with the best NBA shooters in the league this year.

But it is his intangibles that are most noteworthy.

Consider his game vs. the Knicks two weeks ago. The entire country was consumed in Lin-Sanity.

Chalmers had other plans. He held Lin to 1-11 shooting and 8 turnovers. Chalmers was a man on fire. Not in a statistical sense, but in a driven sense. He wanted to ‘stick-it’ to Lin; he wanted to show the newbie what playing in the NBA was really like.

In the first quarter Chalmers stole the ball from Lin just barely into Heat territory, drove to the hoop, and slammed the ball.

His first dunk of the year.

Chalmers made a statement with that dunk, that game, and this entire season.

He has seen and played with the best the NBA has to offer. And this experience has contributed to his killer instincts both offensively and defensively this year. There will be no other starting PG‘s for the Heat. No more Alston’s, no more Arroyo’s, no more Bibby’s. This is Chalmers’ spot. He has fought for his place, and has earned a pivotal spot in the starting lineup for the best team in the NBA.