Miami Heat 99, New Jersey Nets 94

That's a milestone game right there. Wins like this can serve as bonding moments for teams, especially newly-assembled ones like our Heat. This team needs the shared experience of gritty, unlikely victories to sustain it through the dark times it invariably will go through. This game was one of those, the moment when everything and everyone fell into place behind the brilliance of Dwyane Wade and collectively pulled a 1 out of the loss column and onto the bright side.

Further, wins like these assert the decisive home-court edge that is the key to a plus-.500 Heat season: even when you do everything right, even when the Heat has replaced an Olympian in the starting lineup with Yakhouba Diawara, even when the crowd is gathering its belongings, even when you've got a double-digit lead with single digits on the game clock, you haven't won. If Miami is to reach the postseason, it will likely be by that slim margin between 27 home wins and 28. Tonight might be a game we look back at with a smile this spring.

As for the particulars:

Wade did what Wade does, scoring 19 of his 33 points in that fourth-quarter rally. We've seen the return of Wade the Superstar over the last few months; tonight was the return of Wade the Closer. A well-timed return.

Michael Beasley laid some sick moves on a helpless Yi Jianlian in the first half. This dude is going to do some special things, and I'm thrilled he'll be doing it for the good guys.

Mario Chalmers is slowly coming back to earth after that virtuoso performance against Philly, but I still like what I'm seeing. There was no way he was going to keep up anything approaching that, and the level he's balanced out at - a good, steady rookie point with a ton of room to develop - is higher than I expected coming out of camp.

That said, the continued strong play of Chris Quinn is a great luxury to have for the nights Chalmers just doesn't have it. Nothing remarkable out of Quinn tonight, but he gave us the good minutes we needed.

The absence of Shawn Marion: Diawara shouldn't see the starting lineup ever again, but Daequan Cook showed that a shooter is a nice addition on the fringes of the first unit. I really wish James Jones were here to step in and give that lineup an honest try.

Udonis Haslem is starting to spoil me. Can he really keep this up for 82 games at center? If so, he's making all that preseason panic about the position an epic fail. We had the man for the job on the payroll the whole time, and we were wrong to doubt him.

Speaking of bigs, Joel Anthony bulled his way through a few decent minutes while Mark Blount drew a DNP-CD. Anthony sure didn't seal up the job tonight, but it's a start.

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