The effort may have been there but the result was still the same, as the Heat lost for the 2nd time in two tries this preseason. Orlando got out to an early lead and never looked back, once stretching the lead to 18 points. The Heat were outscored in every quarter but the 4th, where once again John Lucas III led a comeback attempt that fell short at the end.
We're going to take a look at tonight's loss in three categories. The good, the bad and the meh.
One thing that I was absolutely ecstatic about was the play of James Jones and Quentin Richardson. They were two guys that we highlighted before the game, hoping that they would step up. Jones looked like the J-J of old, showing a sweet stroke and hitting 5-of-7 shots (and a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc). He finished with 16 points in 24 minutes and also let the team with 3 steals.
Richardson played only 15:48 but was very effective, scoring 9 points on 3-of-6, but just like Jones, a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond. He also added 3 rebounds. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from both.
John Lucas III could be playing his way into a backup point guard job. In very limited minutes (7:57) he equaled his point total from the last game in half the time, going 3-for-5, hitting a 3 and adding 2 assists.
Shavlik Randolph has been providing solid minutes as a backup power forward. In just under 14 minutes over the two preseason games, he's grabbed 8 rebounds. He has also scored 6 points, all from the foul line where he has shot 6-of-8.
Our other two point guards. Mario Chalmers is looking very uneasy and uncomfortable shooting the ball. He was only 1-of-6 from the field last night and added 3 turnovers. There were also 3 turnovers courtesy of Rio. Quinn wasn't quite as bad, as he dished the ball fairly well and was rewarded with 3 assists. However, he only shot 1-for-7 and had 4 of his shots blocked.
Heat shooting overall has been very poor. As a team they shot 33% last night, and 35% in the two games. Not to be outdone, our reputation as a poor free throw shooting team continues; the Heat have only made 70% of their foul shots.
The replacement officials have been nothing short of terrible. We'll take the words of someone who saw it firsthand:
The officiating by the replacements was so atrocious that fill-in official Robbie Robinson could become the first referee to ever be fired twice by the NBA.
The foul trouble reached the point that after the Magic's Vince Carter was called for his fourth with 52.4 seconds to play in the second quarter, becoming the fourth player with as many, he blared to one of the replacement referees, "You're messing up a good game."
The officiating lockout is beginning to wear on nerves, with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra exhorting at one stage "Pay attention!", after a goaltending call was changed to offensive interference.
Dorell Wright isn't living up to his pre-preseason hype. He shot 0-for-3 last night and 0-for-4 in Detroit. He's added only 5 rebounds in a combined 41:30 over the two games.
Udonis Haslem was held to only 15 minutes thanks to the wonderful officiating. He hit 2 of his 3 shots and had no rebounds. This once again led to Michael Beasley getting more minutes at power forward then small forward. You have to give him some credit, as the position he has been preparing more to play isn't where he has been playing. Either way, he is struggling. He shot only 3-of-13 last night with 4 boards while leading the Heat with 30:24 on the court. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
Dwyane Wade got off to a very slow start again, hitting only 1 of his first 6 shots. He finished the game 5-for-8 with 17 points. I have high expectations for D-Wade, so these kind of games aren't what I like to see from him. The fact that he led the team in scoring is irrelevant. I think he should be scoring 25 points every night; nobody in the NBA can score at will the way Wade can.
Jermaine O'Neal was held out of the game, and he said that it was due to being kicked in the foot last week by Joel Anthony, and nothing to do with his knees. Uh huh. Call me a cynic, but I don't buy that. He's been seen with his knees iced, and if he was kicked last week, then how come he is only suddenly sitting out.
The Heat aren't back in action until Sunday when they will host the San Antonio Spurs at the AAA. Tip off is 5pm...anybody going?