This game started out looking very similar to the Heat's last game. The Magic seemed to be doing whatever they wanted offensively, scoring 17 points in less then half a quarter. The only difference was that Miami was able to somewhat keep pace, thanks mostly to Dwyane Wade getting going quickly. I got the feeling that the refs were letting a lot go in the early stages; not calling Dwight Howard for a forearm to the chest of J-O or for what looked like an easy goaltending call on a Carlos Arroyo layup.
Still though, I'm not one to complain to blame officials and I don't plan on starting now. I just hope that as the game continued there would be no reason to. The first big guy to come off the bench for Miami was Joel Anthony who quickly picked up a foul, but he always does that. Shortly after that it was Uodnis coming in for Mike Beasley; Beasley started the game very active taking a few shots and scoring a 2nd chance layup, but after the first 2-3 minutes didn't do much to stand out.
After Quentin Richardson' 2nd triple put the Heat up 24-21, Orlando went on an 8-1 run to close the 1st quarter thanks to back-to-back buckets by the sharpshooting J.J. Redick. Dorell Wright seemed to reclaim his role as the primary backup to Quentin Richardson, providing hustle defense and being a nice, big facilitator of the ball on offense. His first shot came about 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter and it was pretty ugly, but it was so long that it went right off the backboard and in. It was part of a 7-0 Heat run that gave them a brief 1-point lead.
Dorell then made one of the best plays, if not the best play, of his career. He elevated to block a Vince Carter pass with one arm, then sped behind Carter and leaped out of bounds to save the ball blindly; luckily it went straight to Dwyane Wade. After bracing himself on the scorer's table, Dorell ran straight to the basket where D-Wade tossed him a perfect lob from just inside the halfcourt line and Wright finished it with a thunderous ally-oop jam. It was so sick that I had to rewind and re-watch it several times.
After sitting on the bench for quite some time, Michael Beasley returned to the game with under 3 minutes left in the half. He missed a jumper after and then right after that was called for a moving screen, but the sad thing is that I can't tell if he is just rusty from his injury or just generally struggling the way he has been the past few weeks. When Beasley came back into the game the Heat had a THIS MANY point lead, but Orlando went on a quick 11-2 run to go up by 3. Luckily the Heat has D-Wade, who brought the Heat back and tied the game at 54 going into the half.
A great start to the 2nd half for Miami happened before they ever touched the ball, as Dwight Howard was called for an offensive foul, his 4th, on the Magic's first possession and had to sit down just seconds into the 3rd quarter. The Heat were having center issues of their own; Jermaine O'Neal had to go to the locker room during the 2nd quarter to get his ankles re-taped and also to receive IV treatment due to him catching the stomach virus that is effecting several members of the team. J-O seemed to be fine when he started the 2nd half, but came up short on his first 3 attempts from the field, which usually means he isn't getting enough push off his legs.
Despite Dwight Howard sitting out almost the entire 3rd quarter, Miami spent the whole time trying to come from behind. A troubling stat was that the Magic were +10 in rebounds during that 3rd quarter with their best rebounder sitting on the bench. The 4th quarter didn't start out much better with lots of Heat jumpers coming up on the short end, and the Magic were able to stretch their lead all the way to 10 thanks to making a good percentage of their shots while the Heat hit on just 2-of-14.
When a pair of Dwight Howard free throws put the Magic up by 12 with under 6 minutes left, the Heat started to make their final push. A Joel dunk and a Chalmers trey got the Heat within 7, then Wade got the deficit down to 5 with a pair of freebies. Dwight Howard missed two free throws and Dorell came back with a jumper to get it down to 3. While Orlando was in the midst of a 5-minute stretch without a field goal, Mario Chalmers hit a triple from across the street at Bayside to tie the game at 88. Jameer Nelson put Orlando back up by 2, and D-Wade responded with a nice quick layup that came with a foul, but he was unable to complete the 3-point play.
Wade kept responding to each time the Magic untied the game, this time with a 3-pointer that gave Miami a 1-point lead with 49.8 left. Miami could've had the ball back after Matt Barnes airballed a triple that landed right in the arms of Mario Chalmers, but Jameer Nelson took it right away and got fouled. I'll admit that I let out an audible ‘ugh' when the ball found its way into Michael Beasley's hands, but the kid dribbled into the paint and hit a nice teardrop to put Miami up by 2.
Jameer Nelson hit a very tough J to tie the game back up, and Miami chose to play it out instead of calling a timeout with 15 seconds left. Beasley would attempt another shot and Dwight Howard blocked it, but the ball went off the back of the backboard and it would be Miami ball with 3.4 seconds left. Wade would get the ball but took a horrendous shot and it was off to OT. This is where the descriptive part of the blog will end because despite setting an additional 30 minutes on my DVR, it ran out. Thanks TNT.
Oh well, after reading the play-by-play I wouldn't have enjoyed the overtime much anyway. The Heat finished by missing 5 of their last 6 shots and letting the Magic end the game on an 8-2 run. Outside of Wade, nobody on the team did much of anything to help. 41.1% from the field and 32.0% from 3-point land sound about right for the losing version of the Heat.
I can see why Wade was very upset with some of his teammates during 2nd half, as first it was Beasley who would've had a very easy 2 points if he had be paying attention when going to the rim. Wade flung a pass right to him but Beas wasn't expecting the pass and it went right through his hands. My question is, how can you be going towards the basket during a fast break and not be expecting a pass. The second time it was Dorell Wright who missed what should have been an easy reverse layup off a great bounce pass from Wade, but completely missed the rim.
Also, why does this team have so much trouble with in-bound plays? Defensively there have been several times this year where they force the opponent to an inbound play late in the shot clock or the game clock, and all that happens is the Heat stand around watching a nice ally-oop play. Offensively, I can't remember the last time they got an open look off an inbound.
With 3.4 seconds left, Miami had a chance to win the game but couldn't get D-Wade any kind of good look. Instead, he received the ball in the corner surrounded by defenders, which only allowed him to take a horrible shot without even the option to dish the ball to an open teammate.
This is just me talking here, and any of you are more then welcome to disagree with me, but I'm getting really sick of Michael Beasley. He shows up for little patches here and there but overall is proving to be nothing more then a disappointment. It bothers me even more because we all know that the talent is there, but not so Super Cool has no clue how to get it out. I think what bothers me the most are the confused looks on his face when things don't go his way.
Dude...man up and figure out how to at least hit jumpshots again. Forget driving the ball, just hit your shots. He was able to do that very well as a rookie, but now he can't seem to do anything right. At least when his offense struggled at the beginning of the year he still had the effort that brought the team rebounds and defense. But 8 points and 6 rebounds in over 30 minutes isn't going to cut it. Ever.
- Jermaine O'Neal did everything he could despite battling the stomach virus that is circulating through the team and dealing with uncomfortable feet that had to be re-taped at least once, but it was apparent that he wasn't feeling ‘normal' judging by the way his shots looked. He still finished with 14 points, 6 boards and a season-high 5 blocked shots.
- Lost in the mix was Carlos Arroyo having a great shooting night. He hit 5-of-6 from the field, some of which were very tough looking jumpers.
- Udonis Haslem was about as invisible as was Michael Beasley, but one thing that stood out to me was a technical free throw missed by U-D in the 2nd quarter that he took despite having Dorell Wright, Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers on the floor. That make sense to any of you? Me neither...
- Quentin Richardson hit a pair of 1st quarter treys then became pretty irrelevant for the rest of the game. 1 rebound and 1 assist for Q; I guess his hot streak is over now.
- Dorell Wright got his minutes back, but still looks pretty off taking jumpers. He hit 4-of-12 but none of his makes came from outside 15 feet, and he was 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. He's missed 10-straight treys with the last make coming on March 4th against the Lakers.
Alright...if I missed anything I'll do my best to cover it in the next blog. Back-to-back games where a big comeback was needed tells me that the effort and execution to start games are quite lacking. Coach Spo...what excuses do you have to strum up this time?