Unfortunately for the Heat, this game was as predictable as you can get. Miami played extremely hard and emotional, but in the end just didn’t have anything left in the tank. How else can you explain a 9 point 4th quarter in which their offense looked completely drained, pulling slow off of picks, lots of shots coming up short and even a few air balls.
It was pretty obvious when watching Dwyane Wade, who had no lift when attempting jumpers. Not counting lay-ups, dunks or other ‘up-close’ shots, Wade didn’t have enough energy to sustain his outside game. He hit long jumpers to open the 1st and 3rd quarters and one other, but would miss his other 9 attempts from the outside; including all 5 he took in the 4th quarter.
This game is no knock on Miami. There aren’t many teams who can play at a high level like the Heat did for as long as they did, especially considering the circumstances of both the overtimes and the travel. The Heat is still a team on the rise, and are battling hard through their very tough schedule…which will not get any easier.
Starting Wednesday in Boston, Miami will play their final 16 games in 29 days including a stretch of 4 games in 4 cities in 5 nights, beginning Sunday in Detroit. The Heat won’t have two consecutive days off until April 8th-9th.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Michael Beasley had another not-so-great game, playing only 15 minutes and grabbing no rebounds. He shot 4-of-8, but defense and rebounding come before scoring when you are a power forward, especially on this team.
The Heat opened the 2nd quarter trailing by 7 and with the lineup of Chris Quinn, Luther Head, Yakhouba Diawara, Michael Beasley and Jamaal Magloire. They would close the gap to zero with a 9-2 run in the first 3:04.
Early Luther Head observations: He is fast as hell. He is (or thinks he is, too soon to tell) a pure scorer. Every time he touched the ball on offense, he instantly looked to create either space to shoot or drive. He is also one of those hustle guys on D that this coaching staff loves. He fills up all the stat categories, adding boards and steals (2 each today) to his points and assists, which are more expected from guards.
Jermaine O’Neal is getting into a comfort zone. He followed up his 28 point 8 boards and 5 blocks game on Saturday with another 20 points (on 7-of-13 and went 6-for-6 from the line), 6 boards and 2 blocks. He also drew 3 charges, and with his 2 blocks extended his consecutive games streak to 19.
Miami came out on fire from beyond the arc, starting the game 5-for-7 from three. They would finish 5-for-19. Ouch…
They were also off from the foul line, shooting 16-of-13 (69%).
James Jones was dressed but didn’t make it into the game. Covering Kyle Korver for the better part of the 4th quarter and 3 OT’s may have taken a lot out of Jones, who hadn’t seen that kind of playing time yet this season, especially considering the importance of his minutes.
Udonis Haslem quietly got his second double double in a row (10 pts 11 reb).
Jamario Moon also had a nice game; despite only scoring 3 points, he had 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
IN THE STADINGS
Atlanta inflated the gap between 4th and 5th with a win at home over Portland. Combined with Detroit losing at home to Memphis, Philly’s win leap-frogged over the Pistons into 6th place, 2 games back of the Heat.
ON THE HORIZON
Miami will be spending their much-needed time off in Boston, heading there straight from Philly on Sunday. The Celtics are looking to have Rajon Rondo back for Wednesday’s game, and will also be trying (for the second time) to clinch the Atlantic Division.