The easy answer to the question ‘why did the Heat play so poor on Sunday?' is that they were all out late partying to celebrate the 21st birthday of Michael Beasley on Saturday night. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth. Beasley spent his birthday night having a quiet dinner out with his mother. The team chilled at the hotel, obviously concentrating on playing a great game in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. Obviously...
I love that D-Wade's first offensive touch had him go right to right to the rim. His free throws have been up the past few games and that was a good sign that we could see more of the same in this game. Overall the beginning of the game was pretty sloppy as both teams missed some open shots. Rafer and Q both came up short on open treys. Still, the Heat were moving well offensively but they just couldn't get the shots to drop.
Chris Kaman was all over the place early on, putting up 7 shots in the games first 5 minutes. No other Clipper had more then 2 at that time. Meanwhile, the Heat couldn't stop turning the ball over and Mike Beasley was having a hard time keeping tabs on Marcus Camby, who had two easy offensive rebound put backs. That prompted Erik Spoelstra to replace Beas with Udonis Haslem with about 3 minutes left in the opening quarter.
The Heat went scoreless for over 3 minutes before Joel Anthony hit a pair of free throws, but in that stretch the Clips scored 7 straight to push their lead to 8. A Michael Beasley jumper would end a drought of almost 5 minutes without a FG for the Heat, and if you subtract Beasley from the scoresheet, no Heat player would hit a FG over the last 7:57 of the 1st quarter. That is amazingly pathetic. The Heat shot just 7-for-23 (30%) in the opening quarter, and other then Beasley nobody scored more then 2 points.
The Clippers used a 19-5 run that stretched between the first two quarters to take a 15-point lead, but that has as much to do with the Heat playing amazingly poor as it did the Clippers playing well. Miami couldn't get any offense going against L.A.'s zone, continually turning the ball over and giving up points in transition. 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter the Heat had just 2 points and were down by 19.
Dorell Wright provided a spark for the Heat, scoring 4 points and coming away with a big block that brought Miami to within 13 points. Still, they had a ways to go, but at least there was something positive happening for the team in red. Miami kept slowly creeping back into the game thanks to solid D and some easy buckets, then Wade hit a trey to bring the Heat to within 8. Rasul Butler came right back with a triple of his own, but the Heat were playing much more competitively, giving us hope for the 2nd half.
It took Miami 20 minutes of game time against the Clippers to match their turnover total for the entire game against the Suns with 9. After Wade's 3 brought the Heat within 8, the Clippers closed the half outscoring Miami 11-4. It was a pretty ugly 1st half for everybody on the Heat except for Michael Beasley and Jamaal Magloire, who looked way better then either of Miami's other centers.
Obviously not much was said at the half in the Heat locker room because they looked just as bad to start the 3rd quarter. Ugly offensive possessions, multiple turnovers (3 in the first 4 minutes) and lazy defense. That was pretty much the entire 3rd quarter. At this point I'm going to stop describing the game. It totally baffles me that the Heat can play this bad after looking so good just 2 days ago.
- After hitting his first shot, a running teardrop along the baseline, D-Wade missed his next 5 from the field. He didn't hit on an actual jumpshot until well into the 2nd half.
- The Heat started the game shooting 6-of-18 from the field which led to one of their worst shooting games of the season.
- Jermaine O'Neal had 0 points and 0 rebounds in 10 1st half minutes.
- Rafer Alston was a non-factor on offense but looked very slow chasing around Baron Davis.
- The Heat had 7 blocks in the 1st half, which ties a high for any half this season.
Dwyane Wade, after the game:
"We came out very flat. It's a sign of the two teams that we have. We've had two teams all year. We've got 'Miami' and we've got the 'Heat.' This was Miami."
Translation- 'We know that we can be amazing and we know we can play like crap, but we have no control over how we'll play on a gamely basis.' Nice, that's just what we want to hear...