The Miami Heat haven't been playing the kind of defense they want over the last 5 quarters, giving up 33 points in the 4th quarter to the Knicks before allowing Houston to put up 119 points on Wednesday night. That being the case, it was important for the Heat to set the done defensively last night against Golden State, a team that knows how to score.
Unfortunately, the Heat didn't respond they way that the coaching staff wanted. The Warriors came out and shot 65% in the opening quarter, making 6-of-7 from downtown. Miami turned the ball over 3 times leading to 6 Warrior points, but the awful quarter closed out in the worst possible way when Monta Ellis hit a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to put Golden State up 36-28 after 1.
The 2nd quarter would see things get a lot worse. Miami's D still hadn't shown up and the Warriors kept getting open look after open look, whether it be a long jumper or a totally uncontested layup. The Heat's offense was fine as they put up 58 points on 51% shooting in the 1st half but their horrid defense had them down by 14 at the break.
The 72 points scored by the Warriors tied a season high for points given up in a half for the Heat, who gave up 72 back when the Utah Jazz came to Miami in early November. I guess being embarrassed like that on their home floor, combined with whatever Erik Spoelstra screamed at them in the locker room, was enough to inspire them to play some amazing D when the 3rd quarter began.
Golden State didn't hit a field goal until half way through the 3rd while Miami was playing the amazing, shut down D that they have made a staple during the 1st half of this season. The Heat went on a 21-3 run that bridged the two half's and brought them back from down at one point by 20 to within just 2 points of the Warriors.
The story stayed the same in the 4th quarter. Miami's defense continued to smother the Warriors who were just dumbfounded as to what happened to their big lead. It was like flicking a switch for the Heat because the two half's were so different. Once Miami regained the lead you knew this one was over.
It may not have seemed like it but this was by far the largest comeback of season. The Heat were down by 20 points three different times in the 2nd quarter before going on that 21-3 run, then they went on a 14-0 run later in the game that put Golden State away. I've never seen a team that can take control defensively like this while still scoring at will. We are really seeing the birth of something very special down here in Miami.
- After giving up 36 points in each of the 1st two quarters, Miami held the Warriors to just 35 2nd half points.
- Juwan Howard collected the 5,000th rebound of his career in the 1st half.
- Dorell Wright led all scorers with 30 points and hit six 3-pointers.
- Heat outscored 39-27 from beyond the arc as Golden State hit 48% from downtown.
- This is the 2nd straight game that the Heat has given up 100+ points.
- LeBron James came 3 rebounds shy of another triple double. He finished with 25 points, 7 boards and 10 assists.
- Chris Bosh also had a double double with 20 and 11, but he needs to get credit for being the main source for scoring in the 1st half for the Heat. He was the only player with double-digit points at the half.
- James Jones hit 4 triples after making just 22% from downtown over his last 7 games.
The Heat gets back at it on Monday when they head to Charlotte to face the Bobcats. Until then, enjoy the comeback!