Coming off of a very tough home loss to Cleveland, you had to figure that the Heat would be ready to go after the winless Nets. After the Nets star center Brook Lopez opened the game with 4 straight points, the Heat went on a little 7-0 run to get things going. The game would be pretty back and fourth throughout a low scoring 1st quarter in which the Heat took no free throws, the first time this season that has happened.
The Nets switched to a 2-3 zone on defense late in the opening quarter and that allowed them to go on 9-0 run that stretched into the 2nd quarter, putting them up by 6. About half way through the quarter New Jersey was up by 8 when the Heat brought Dwyane Wade back into the game. Wade ignited the Heat who went on an 11-0 run, re-taking the lead for the first time since they led 17-16 late in the 1st quarter.
Miami closed the half on a 16-6 run and took a 40-38 halftime lead. Dwyane Wade led the way for the Heat with a monster 1st half, scoring 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He also had 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks.
The 2nd half started with Michael Beasley getting called for 2 fouls in the first 21 seconds, and just like that Udonis Haslem was back in the game. Haslem was in the midst of a stretch where he made 9-of-10 shots, so its not like there was any kind of drop-off. However, the Nets went on a 7-0 run early in the quarter and briefly took a 1-point lead. Miami quickly countered with 4 straight points by Udonis, and held onto the lead throughout the quarter. The Nets would draw close and go into the 4th quarter down only 1.
Maybe an early wake up call was the Heat needed as New Jersey re-took the lead and held it with under 10 minutes left despite shooting very poorly. Daequan Cook gave the Heat the lead again with a nice drive, his first points in a few weeks. Michael Beasley finally returned to the game and grabbed a steal almost instantly, then got himself to the foul line on the other end.
I never would have expected the Nets to be holding a lead half way through the 4th quarter, but that was the case last night in Miami. The winless team was fighting for every inch on that court and found themselves up by 4 with under five minutes left.
In about a one minute span, Michael Beasley missed 2 shots, grabbed 2 offensive boards and drew 2 fouls on the Nets, and the Heat finally made the extended possession count after Udonis Haslem came down with the 3rd offensive rebound and was fouled going back up.
Offensive boards continued to ignite the Heat, with Quentin Richardson getting a HUGE putback after Carlos Arroyo had a trey rim out as the shot clock expired. But for the second straight time, the Nets re-took a 2-point lead after the Head had tied it up at the other end. Udonis tied it back up at 73 with 2 minutes left but Rafer Alston hit a huge 3-pointer and suddenly the Heat needed to scramble. Udonis Haslem and Shawn Williams traded long jumpers and the Heat were still down by 3 with only 42 seconds left. After Beasley had a 3 blocked by Shawn Williams, the Heat would get a break when Williams lost the ball out of bounds. Quentin Richardson took advantage, hitting a ginormous three that went off glass, and we were tied at 78 with 25 seconds left. A controversial putback by Brook Lopez in which the Heat were arguing an offensive goaltending (which it was, by the way) left Miami down 4 with just 4.1 left. And then...Dwyane Wade.
After missing all 5 of his 2nd half shots and with Trenton Hassel all over him, D-Wade hit a game winning 3-pointer. Unbelievable. It was 2:59am when I saw it here at home and I'm sure I woke up a couple neighbors. It was ugly, but the Heat got away with their 7th win in 9 games. You've gotta feel for the Nets and their fans though...to come THAT close to their first win of the season. Oh well; Heat win, Wade rules, see you Tuesday for the Thunder.
Back to Udonis who finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. He shot 12-for-20 from the field, a complete contrast from Michael Beasley, who despite being super energetic throughout the game, only hit 3 of his 17 shots. Beasley really needs to work on his finishing ability. He is getting better and better at driving with the ball and getting to the rim, but is a tad too wild and often finds himself in a tough place to get off a shot. Beasley still grabbed 8 rebounds, 5 of which came on the offensive glass, and added 3 assists, 2 steals and a block.
- Wade's final line: 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals and 2 blocks. Just 7 foul shots for Wade on a night where the Heat as a team didn't get to the line much (11-for-15 as a team).
- When a team takes 84 shots and shoots under 40% from the field, it usually doesn't work out well for them. But most teams don't have a Dwyane Wade either...
- Jermaine O'Neal sat out with a bruised right hip, which was sustained when J-O took a LeBron James knee to his side during Thursday's loss to the Cavs.
- With O'Neal out, it meant the first appearance of the season for Jamaal Magloire, who played only 5 minutes.
- Joel Anthony continues to impress with his defense. The stat sheet will never show how well this guy plays.
- Two of D-Wade's assists came on ally-oop tosses. One to Udonis Haslem in the 1st half and one to Quentin Richardson in the 2nd half.
- Wade also scored at least 20 points for the 22nd straight game, a new Heat record. Of course, it was his own record that he broke...
- One of the poorer quarters of the young season, the Heat shot only 8-of-24 in the 1st for 17 points. Overall, Miami scored only 81 points and still is having trouble when facing a zone defense.
- Mario Chalmers suffered a strained right shoulder early in the game and didn't return. Carlos Arroyo played 37 minutes, by far the most for him in a Heat uniform and did pretty well. He had a few shots rim out in the 2nd half, but played solid D and makes some nice passes. He finished with 7 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal.
- Quentin Richardson got back into the scoring mix tonight, taking 8 shots and hitting 5. Going 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and coming down with 5 boards in just 23 minutes is a great way for Q to bounce back. His first 3-pointer came just 2:33 into the game and his 2nd one came about 2:20 into the 2nd half.
Who would've thought we'd get such an exciting night from the Nets game?! Sure, we only scored 81 points and shot 39.3% from the field, but a wins a win. Things continue to go the Heat's way this season, and now they're 7-2 heading into the final game of their homestand, which is on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.