Heat blow 24-point lead in 2nd half, lose by 3 to Orlando

In the early stages of this game, neither team was having any problems putting points on the board.  It was Orlando that got out to the early advantage though, thanks to making 7 of their first 8 shots.  Keeping the Heat close was Dwyane Wade, who made his first 3 shots and assisted on another.  Wade would be joined by the other members of the Big 3 in doing most of the damage for Miami in the quarter.

The Heat would go on a 14-2 run late in the 1st, which helped them take a 30-22 lead after 12 minutes.  The Big 3 would account for 26 of Miami's 30 points, and LeBron James would finish the 1st by scoring the last 11 points for the Heat.  A nice moment was when the fans of the AAA got on their feet late in the quarter for Mike Bibby as he came off the bench to make his first appearance in a Heat uniform.

Miami kept their foot on the gas as the 2nd quarter got underway, using a 23-5 run that bridged the two quarters to take a 16-point lead over the Magic.  Dwyane Wade and LeBron James did pretty much all of the damage for the Heat in the 1st half.  They combined to score 47 points on 18-for-21 shooting, leading Miami to a 63-47 halftime advantage. 

Just over 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter, a LeBron dunk would put the Heat up by 24 points.  From that point on the game would get progressively worse for Miami, as the Magic closed out the quarter on a 21-7 run that brought them to within 9 points of the Heat.  Orlando was starting to make it rain from downtown, which is very scary for opponents because when the Magic start hitting their 3's they are near impossible to beat.

Chris Bosh opened the 4th quarter scoring, putting Miami up 82-71.  That's when things went from bad to worse, from ugly to nauseating.  Over the next 5+ minutes of game time, Orlando went on an 18-0 run that included another four triples, and suddenly it was the Magic up by 7.  For those keeping track, that's a 40-9 scoring run for Orlando. 

Not surprisingly, Miami was unable to claw their way back after that immense collapse, and lost in front of a stunned collection of Heat fans.  There isn't really much else to say at this point, and I'm still feeling pretty ‘gut checked'.  The Heat got within two points in the final minute, but couldn't get a rebound when it counted. 

Orlando grabbed back-to-back offensive boards but still gave Miami a chance when Jameer Nelson missed one of his two free throws.  Down by 3 with 20 seconds left, the Heat elected to go for a two point score and see how the game played out.  Dwyane Wade hit a pair of free throws to cut the Magic lead to 1, then Miami quickly fouled J.J. Reddick with 8 seconds left.

He would hit both free throws to put Orlando up by 3, giving the Heat one final chance to tie the game.  Miami would actually get two chances to tie the game; first Chris Bosh missed a 3-point attempt, then after a Mike Miller offensive rebound it was LeBron James with the ball in his hands, but he would also miss the trey. 

GAME NOTES

  • The Magic went 16-of-29 from downtown.  They made 9 of those 16 during their crazy 2nd half comeback. 
  • Miami scored 30 points in the 1st quarter and 33 points in the 2nd quarter before putting up a total of 33 points in the entire 2nd half. 
  • Jason Richardson went 6-for-8 from beyond the arc for Orlando.  From inside the 3-point line he made just 1-of-6.  Go figure...
  • After combining to score 47 points in the 1st half, LeBron and D-Wade scored 10 total points in the 2nd half. 
  • Orlando's bench scored 34 points while the Heat bench put up just 11. 
  • Mike Bibby played 19 minutes, finishing with 3 points on 1-of-4 shooting (all from downtown).  He added 3 rebounds and an assist while missing both his free throw attempts. 
  • Ryan Anderson scored 13 of his 15 points in the 2nd quarter, which at the time kept Orlando within striking distance. 
  • Miami started the game 17-of-17 from the foul line but would make just 6 of their final 13 free throws. 

Thankfully there isn't much time to dwell on this, but that's because the Heat get to play against the best team in the NBA tonight.  San Antonio, here we come...

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