It was trouble in South Beach as the New Orleans Pelicans smothered the Miami Heat with their interior defense, and shot blocking, however this only persisted through the first half. Miami was able to dismantle their opposition in the second half and mount an unyielding lead.
Nevertheless, despite Miami's spectacular play within the second half it was New Orleans' Anthony Davis who was the star within the beginning of the game. Although often unrecognized, Davis is perhaps one of the more prolific players in the game today. He was able to muscle in for rebounds, and swat away scoring attempts with ease and do so quickly. Davis was one rebound away from a double-double with 3:40 still remaining before the half.
Despite Davis' stellar play, ultimately the story of this game as per usual was LeBron James. James was proficient, sporting a stat line of 32 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists making this his 10th 30 point game of the season and no doubt resuming MVP talks.
Another story of the game was Dwyane Wade. Despite playing in back to backs over the last week, Dwyane was surprisingly spry on the court scoring 22 points and dishing out 8 assists. While his ball-handling was shaky at times, Wade's footwork is phenomenal and he is evolving his scoring methods. Birdman was perfect from the field going 7-7 with a game high 15 points.
While Miami fell victim to the Pelican's ball movement in the first half, they were able to fight fire with fire and light up New Orleans from three in the latter part of the contest. Chris Bosh's rebounding prowess continued and he was able to grab 9 boards to go along with 12 points.
This was a fun Miami win, but they once again found themselves playing from behind. This has unfortunately been the LeBron-era trend, but in turn it usually results in victories. When LeBron and Wade are playing at a high level, no team stands a chance and that was made evident tonight. This could also be seen as a moral victory for Miami, as the whole team was able to get involved and set fire to the competition.
Taking a page from the NHL I'm proud to bring you the three stars of the evening.
1st Star: LeBron James: 32 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks
2nd Star: Dwyane Wade: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists
3rd Star: Anthony Davis: 22 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks