Strong first half sends Heat to winners circle in New Jersey

As long as the Miami Heat keep winning, they will continue to set new franchise marks for the best start to a season. With their win over the New Jersey Nets tonight, the Heat moved to 8-1 on the year. Along with a new best start to a Heat season, Miami also now holds the best record in the NBA. They have also now won three straight games, all without the services of Dwyane Wade, who hopes to return to the lineup on Tuesday in Golden State.

Like several other games this season, the Heat came out in the 1st quarter and jumped all over their opponent. Miami began the game making 4 of their first 5 shots while holding the Nets to 0 for their first 6 and the Heat jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead. By the time the quarter was over, Miami was already up by 13 points and LeBron James was a huge part of it.

LeBron had about as good of a quarter as you can have in the NBA. He scored 22 points while shooting a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and making 8-of-9 from the foul line. James' dominance also opened things up for other players, as the Nets became so concerned with stopping LeBron that other Heat players were given clear paths to the net on more then one occasion.

Following their strong 1st quarter, the Heat continued to build their lead through halftime, taking a 13-point lead after 1 and turning it into a 22-point lead after 2. The Nets tried their best to make it a game in the 2nd half, after at one point being down by 24 they got within 10 points briefly in the 3rd quarter. They kept it somewhat close the rest of the way, though never really making it feel like they would make a run at the Heat's lead, as Miami led this game from start to finish.

Mario Chalmers seemed to be slowed by a right shoulder injury, though it didn't keep him off the floor much. Every time he was on the bench it was wrapped in ice, but he still managed to play 18 minutes. He likely would've played more if not for being in foul trouble, which could have been a result of the shoulder bothering him. Still, between Rio and rookie Norris Cole, Miami got solid production from the point guard position.

GAME NOTES

  • Another double-double for Udonis Haslem, his 2nd in a row. Also his 4th straight game with double figure rebounds.
  • Miami's point guards combined for 16 points, 7 rebounds, 13 assists and 5 steals while turning the ball over just 3 times.
  • LeBron's 6th straight road game with at least 30 points, he finished with 32 to go with 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals and a block.
  • The Heat remains the only team in the NBA still unbeaten on the road. They are now 5-0 away from the AAA.
  • The only blemish on Miami's win is that they committed a season-high 23 turnovers.
  • Shane Battier continues to be solid defensively, and is starting to hit his outside shots. He was 2-for-2 from downtown in New Jersey and is 7-of-14 in his last 4 games.
  • As a team the Heat shot 50.0% from the field while holding the Nets to just 33.7% shooting.
  • Miami is now 3-0 in games played in the Prudential Center.

The Heat now will enjoy having back-to-back days off for the first time this season. Unfortunately, they will enjoy them while traveling across the country, as they will now head to California for a Tuesday night matchup with the Golden State Warriors followed by a Wednesday night showdown with ‘Lob City West', aka the Los Angeles Clippers.

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