Another slow start dooms Heat to 3rd straight loss

Stop taking so many jumpers and drive the ball, LeBron!!

Something that has been an unfortunate constant lately with the Heat is poor defense, and that is what they started this game with.  Jameer Nelson was blowing by Carlos Arroyo and was basically able to do what he wanted, scoring easily and making several nice passes as well.  Once again the Heat were having a hard time dealing with one of the leagues better point guards. 

Wade's 1st touch came 3 minutes into game and he didn't really do much in the opening quarter.  When Zydrunas picked up his 2nd foul with 6 min left, it was Joel Anthony coming off bench the bench.  He instantly produced too, making a nice move to score off glass around Howard.  Chris Bosh came out of the game late in 1st quarter and went straight to locker room.  Shortly after it was reported that he was suffering from back spasms and was questionable to return. 

Meanwhile, the Magic closed the quarter on a 12-2 run to go up by 8.  Big Z couldn't catch a break, picking up his 3rd foul just 2 minutes into the 2nd quarter sent him right back to the bench.  This time he would be replaced by Jammal Magloire, while new Heat member Erik Dampier sat on the bench watching.

The Heat would go down by 12 before stringing together 9 straight points of their own.   Slowly but surely Orlando would gain their lead back though, as Miami couldn't get any consistent offense while playing some very suspect defense.  It just seemed like there is no hustle, no spark.  Orlando shot 50% and went into the half with a 51-43 lead.

Dwyane Wade came out contributing in the 3rd quarter after a very blah 1st half.  He scored 5 points in the first two minutes, including a line drive triple.  Again Miami battled to get the deficit down, this time all the way to three points.  They couldn't hold it though, allowing the Magic to get it back up to 8 quickly.

Carlos Arroyo finally found a way to shut down Jameer Nelson late in the 3rd quarter.  He drew a charge on Nelson, which was his 4th personal foul.  It pissed off Nelson so much that he was given a technical foul on his way to the bench.  This would give the Heat a window of opportunity to close the gap without worrying about Nelson coming right back and making a play every time they scored a bucket.

A low point for D-Wade came after that, when he was fed for an open look from beyond but air-balled the shot.  Coach Spo would pull Wade from the game immediately after that, bringing him to the bench for his usual late 3rd-to-early 4th rest before finishing the game on the floor.  Miami missed several opportunities to tie the game but still went into the 4th quarter down by just 3.

Even though he was struggling, Dwyane Wade kept right on pushing and forcing Orlando to pay close attention to him.  With the Heat down by 6 he assisted on back-to-back long J's, one by Z and then an Eddie House triple, getting Miami again back within 1 point.  The superstar formerly known as Flash wasn't done there, slamming down a nasty dunk and then hitting a nice runner while being fouled.  He completed the 3-point play that fired up his teammates and giving the Heat a 1-point lead. 

They weren't fired up enough though.  Jameer Nelson scored 6 straight points that ignited a 10-1 run by Orlando and like magic, *poof* they were back up by 8.  Nelson would get himself tossed from the game in the final minute, getting T-ed up for a 2nd time.  What was curious about the play was that Nelson had been fouled and was going to the free throw line. 

It didn't make a difference though as the Miami lost 104-95, though it may have been a more exciting ending had the Heat not gone cold from the charity stripe in the final minute.  Wade missed two and LeBron missed one, but had they made them all then the game would've been a 2-possession game with just over 20 seconds left.

In tonight's episode of ‘random player goes off against Miami', Brandon Bass came out and had a monstrous 1st half.  He scored 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting in just 15 minutes.  Not bad for a guy averaging 8.8 points in 20 minutes per game.  Thankfully for the Heat they'd seen this show before and limited Bass to taking just one shot in 11 2nd half minutes.

A quick thought on LeBron James, who finished the game hitting 9-of-18 from the field, scoring 25 points.  He is one of the best ever at getting to the rim and finishing, regardless of what the defense throws at him, but his outside shooting isn't nearly as impressive.  He knows that just as well as any of us, which is why his shot selection can really get on my nerves. I don't mean where on the floor he chooses to take his shots, I'm talking more about when he decides to chuck up another jumper.

Too many times have I seen him carry the ball up the floor while the Heat are trying to make a run and just shoot a quick J, which usually doesn't fall.  If they're trying to make a comeback and baskets are at a premium, he needs to recognize that they should be looking for the best, most makeable shots instead of trying to do it all himself.  If he feels the need to play hero and score the bucket himself, then drive with the ball.  Stop stalling our runs by clanking jumpers, please!

GAME NOTES

  • James Jones missed all 5 of his shot attempts (all from 3) and has now missed 12 straight from downtown. 
  • Former Heat guard Jason Williams tossed after getting called for traveling, then throwing the ball at Jamaal Magloire.
  • Dwight Howard had a pretty normal game.  24 points, 18 rebounds, 16 free throws.  It was his 6th straight double double and his 10th of the season. 
  • J.J. Reddick filled in for Vince Carter pretty well, scoring up a season-high 20 points.
  • Dwyane Wade finished 6-of-21 from the field.  He has now missed a total of 36 shots in his last three games.
  • Jameer Nelson dished out a season-high 14 assists to go along with his 17 points...before getting tossed in the 4th quarter.  It was his 2nd double double of the year. 
  • The Magic is just the 2nd team to shoot over 50% against the Heat this season, and the 4th to score over 100 points. 

This is the Heat's first 3-game losing streak of the season.  They will look to start a new winning streak on Friday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.  Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  Watching football all day while chilling with your family and eating one of the best meals of the year...that's what its all about.  Enjoy the holiday everyone!

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