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.

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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.