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Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade lead Heat back to victory

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As the game began there was one thing I was looking at and that was how the Heat would look defensively.  After getting a turnover on their first defensive possession, Miami committed back-to-back fouls resulting in 5 points.  Meanwhile at the other end Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley both failed to finish on seemingly easy layup attempts. My main knock on Beasley remains the same...he needs to be able to finish drives consistently. 

Jermaine O'Neal was very active early in the game, scoring 6 of the Heat's first 12 points.  Then on back-to-back plays he was fouled and despite them not counting, hit a couple tough shots.  Definitely the most active he'd been in the 1st quarter of a game since opening night.  A scary moment though as O'Neal was seen heading into the Heat's locker room with 3 minutes left in the quarter, but he would return soon after.

Mario Chalmers was all over the place in the first quarter, showing us how good he can be when he gets aggressive with the ball.  He had 7 early points, slashing and cutting all over the floor.  D-Wade was also super active in the 1st half, playing like the superstar he is.  16 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the opening half for Wade, who hit his only three-point attempt and stepped it up defensively with two blocks. 

The Heat continued scoring at will in the 2nd half led by D-Wade, who was getting in the paint much more then he had been in the past week.  Maybe a little too aggressive (if that's possible for Wade) as he missed 3 dunks, throwing them down a little too hard and clanking the ball off the back iron.

Turnovers were becoming a problem for Miami and that is what was keeping the Hornets in the game.  Half way through the 3rd quarter the Heat already had 10 turnovers.  New Orleans was being led by Marcus Thornton, who scored 5 big points at the end of the quarter.  Overall New Orleans used a 10-2 run to close out the 3rd, drawing within 3 points of the Heat. 

The 4th quarter began pretty poorly for Miami.  A missed shot and a turnover for Miami turned into 4 quick points and the lead for New Orleans.  It didn't last though as Michael Beasley hit his first trey of the game to put the Heat back up by 2, but then the back and fourth game continued when former Heat player James Posey hit back-to-back triples, and half way thorough the fourth the Heat were down by 5.  Maybe the 4th quarter wouldn't have gotten so exciting if the Heat hadn't missed 7 of their first 9 field goals, but I digress...

Bringing the Heat right back was D-Wade who continued his dominance.  He hit a couple of treys to get the Heat back in front, the first time this season Wade made more three-pointers then he missed.  As the game winded down the Hornets kept shooting from beyond the arc and Peja Stojakovic hit a big one to put N.O. up by 2 in the final minute. 

Responding for Miami was Udonis Haslem, tying the game up at 100 with 44 seconds left.  Then after Marcus Thornton hit one-of-two from the foul line, Udonis hit another huge jumper, this one off glass, to put the Heat up by 1 with under 15 seconds left.  The Heat would then clamp down defensively, forcing David West to take an ill advised jumper (to put it nicely) at the end. The shot didn't fall and the Heat would get a much needed win.

The Heat hit just 6 field goals in the 4th quarter but still managed to come away with the ‘W'.  Michael Beasley and Dwyane Wade each had a pair of triples and Udonis Haslem hit the two BIG jumpers in the final minute. Wade finished with 31 points, 6 boards, 3 assists and 3 blocks.  Beasley finished one rebound shy of his 3rd double double this year, recording 17 points and 9 boards.  It was the third time this season that Beasley came up one rebound short of a double double, and his average of 6.2 per game is almost a full board more then he averaged last season (5.4).

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat put up 59 points in the first half (on 57% shooting), their highest scoring output in a half this season. 
  • Finally the Heat were able to win a game when allowing their opponent to score 100 points.  Defensively, Miami held New Orleans to just 39% shooting, but the Hornets hit 12 three pointers which kept them in the game. 
  • With his second trey of the 4th quarter Dwyane Wade tied Steve Smith for 13th on the Heat's all-time 3-pointers list. 
  • Jermaine O'Neal had a tough rebounding night, finishing with just 4.  He was stuck on just two boards for a while, grabbing two more in the games final 5 minutes. 
  • Daequan Cook came down with an uncharacteristic 6 rebounds in limited minutes but still found himself on the bench during ‘crunch time'.  It's going to take a little while before Spoelstra feels comfortable with Cook on the floor down the stretch; maybe when he starts drilling shots on a consistent basis.
  • Quentin Richardson missed his second straight game with a lower back strain.  He's listed as questionable for the Heat next contest on Wednesday in Orlando.