The Miami Heat came out last night in front an amazing and electric crowd and showed the kind of dominant basketball that Heat fans are hoping for (and expecting, really) from their team. The first half was the back-and-fourth, tight matchup you would've expected from this game between Eastern Conference powerhouses. The second half though was a totally different story as the Heat dominated Orlando on both ends of the court.
The main thing to take from this is the suffocating defense that Miami played on the Magic. At first it seemed like they were taking the approach of ‘we know Dwight Howard is going to get his...but we can shut down everything else', which is pretty much what happened. Howard scored all 19 of his points in the first half, and entered the second half with 2 fouls...which would soon change.
Miami attacked the paint and got Dwight to bite, getting him to commit 3 fouls in the first 5:06 of the 3rd quarter. Keeping him out there with 4 fouls was a tough decision for San Van Gundy, but with his team down by 18 at the time it's understandable. In this case though, it came back to bite him.
The reason the game was suddenly so out of reach was due to Dwyane Wade and LeBron James going crazy when the 2nd half started. The two were responsible for opening the half with 13 points on a 14-0 run, extending a 6-point halftime lead to a 20-point domination. It also helped that Miami held Orlando to just 2-of-20 shooting in the 3rd quarter.
- Miami held the Magic to shooting just 30% from the field and 16% from 3-point range.
- James Jones hit 3 more triples, and as a team Miami shot 50% from beyond the arc.
- Udonis Haslem quietly picked up his first double double of the season (11p 11r). He is averaging 9.0 boards per game.
- Chris Bosh also got his first double double (11p 10r), thanks mostly to hitting 7-of-8 free throws.
- Miami held the Magic to their lowest point total since 2005.
- LeBron did a much better job taking care of the ball in this one. Only 3 turnovers, and one was an offensive foul.
Gotta love LeBron's fangs. Happy Halloween all!