Imagine my shock...I come home, power up the DVR, and what do I see? Not only was Diawara back in the starting lineup, but Carlos Arroyo as well? I guess a lineup shakeup could be expected with the way the Heat have been playing lately, but it seemed that Chalmers in the starting lineup was a foregone conclusion despite his erratic play. Arroyo responded to his first start in a Heat uniform well, hitting his first two shots in the opening minutes of the game.
Miami played a pretty decent 1st quarter, leading it most of the way...just not the very beginning or the very end. In what's becoming unfortunately normal, D-Wade continues to take outside jumpers and miss them badly. Every year of his career he seemed to improve his J, gradually moving further away from the bucket as his shot got better. This year, however, I feel like he's taken a step backwards. The worst part is that he keeps chucking them up when he is more then capable of driving with the ball and either scoring or dishing the ball off to an open teammate.
Michael Beasley had a great sequence with about four minutes left in the 2nd quarter. He came down with a real nice block on Toronto rookie DeMar DeRozen, passed it up to D-Wade and ran to the other end just in time to catch and slam a lob pass from Dwyane. That bucket put the Heat up by 9, their largest lead of the game at that point. It was also part of an 11-2 run for Miami.
While it was Toronto that got off to the quick start, shooting 55% in the opening quarter, the Heat closed out the first half just as hot. Miami matched their highest point total for a half, scoring 60 on 54% shooting and took a 10-point lead into the locker room. Michael Beasley led the way for Miami with 18 points (on 6-of-8 shooting) and 8 rebounds.
Chris Bosh came out firing in the 3rd quarter, scoring the first 11 points for the Raptors. He went 4-for-6 in the entire 1st half, but was 5-for-5 in the first 3:30 of the 2nd half. Hedo Turkoglu was the first non-Bosh to score for Toronto, hitting a pair of foul shots 5 minutes into the quarter. Meanwhile, Miami was on a 13-4 scoring run capped off by a rare D-Wade three-pointer, and the Heat held a nice 14-point lead.
It didn't matter much who was in the game for the Heat, as everybody was scoring in the 3rd quarter. Dorell Wright and Mario Chalmers were joining the scoring party and as a whole, the Heat dropped in another 31 points and took a nice 17-point lead into the final period.
Miami coasted through the 4th quarter led by Dorell Wright. He is slowly starting to become a consistent contributor in the Heat's offense. Last night he scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, grabbed 8 rebounds and added 3 assists, a block and a steal. Also scoring in the 4th was Yakhouba Diawara, whose dunk with 2 minutes left accounted for his first points of the season.
I have no idea why this guy has started the last two games, but hopefully this game was the last time we see Diawara get any kind of significant minutes. The Heat have much more talented players on their roster who will do more with the minutes then Kooba. There were a couple occasions during the game where he was the recipient of a nice pass down low, but either dropped the ball or just couldn't finish, reminding me of the ‘stone-hands' of Joel Anthony.
- Toronto hit their first 14 foul shots, most of which came in the 1st quarter. While it took Miami a little longer, they also hit their first 14 foul shots and only missed two all night, finishing 20-of-22.
- Michael Beasley had 8 rebounds in the 1st half while Chris Bosh had none. Beasley finished with 11 and Bosh finished with 2.
- The turning point of the game was the beginning of the 2nd quarter. With D-Wade on the bench, Miami hit 6 of their first 7 shots and began building on the lead they'd keep all night.
- Dwayne Wade took only one 3-pointer, and hit it! He had made just 3 of his previous 25 attempts from beyond the arc.
- The Heat had Michael Beasley taking their technical free throws last night. Why not? He's shooting 85% from the charity stripe this season, by far the best percentage of any Heat regular.
- Miami had 19 fast break points (they average 9) and 27 assists (they average 18). I love stats like that, and those were courtesy of ‘the coach' Tony Fiorentino during the Heat's post-game show.
- Off the bench Mario Chalmers had 6 points, 8 assists, 2 steals and more importantly 0 turnovers in 27 minutes. After the game Coach Spoelstra said the reason for Rio not starting was that he was late for shootaround, and that ‘the point guard must be the example for the team'.
- With the benching, Spoelstra snapped Chalmers' streak of 104 consecutive starts.
- Carlos Arroyo did fine in his first start of the year, scoring 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting (and 4-of-5 from the foul line), with 3 assists, a rebound and a steal in 21 minutes.
The Heat have very little time to catch their breath because coming in on Thursday night are our interstate rivals from O-Town. We can only hope that the Heat are able to keep up the good play, because I'm sure the Magic will be thinking about the last time these two teams played each other.