The Miami Heat's six game win streak is over. So is their 19 game streak against Western Conference teams, as well as their 10 game streak against the Sacramento Kings with their highly disappointing 108-103 loss in overtime.
In their second game of their road trip out West, the Heat were just a game behind the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings and facing what appeared to be a winnable game against one of the worst teams in the NBA record-wise. They were shorthanded however with Dwyane Wade, Chris Andersen and Ray Allen all out for tonight's game.
The Heat raced out to a sizable lead from the outset but the home team surged back on the strength of DeMarcus Cousins who finished with 27 points, 17 rebounds and 5 impressive assists that led to easy baskets. There's no doubt that Birdman would have done his best to try to contain Cousins from having that kind of production while also providing the Heat with another offensive option down low to occupy the talented Kings big man. But none of that mattered on a night where time and time again he responded down the stretch with a midrange jumper, a layup off an offensive rebound or hitting clutch free throws.
Rudy Gay sure loves to shoot and this time he was actually efficient at it, hitting more than his share of timely jumpers in the second half (which LeBron wasn't able to match) and the newcomer to the team finished one point behind Cousins for the team lead. The 5'8" point guard Isaiah Thomas brings heart and plenty of hustle for this team in wins or losses and he had a complete game tonight with 22 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds.
The Heat began the game shooting extremely well from the line but missed several important free throws in the final quarter. Mario Chalmers initiated contact with Cousins to earn a flagrant foul that ended up yielding four points for the Kings in the closing moments of the game. With Wade out, the champs really needed the best from LeBron and this night he couldn't come through, settling for long jumpers and enduring some bad luck on a few plays that could have swung Miami's way.
The Kings raced out to a quick lead in the overtime period and while LeBron gave a sliver of hope with three late three-pointers that the Heat could somehow catch up and force a second overtime were dashed quickly.
Even worse, LeBron was limping noticeably by the end of the game and it is now being reported that at some point in the game, possibly in the second quarter, he suffered a strained right groin injury. His status for the Heat's next game against the Portland Trail Blazers is now questionable.