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Stats blog #2: Coming home on a hot streak

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Here we go with stats blog #2.   The Heat have been slacking defensively but picking it up on the offensive end.  They have fallen out of the top-10 in both opponents scoring (97.3) and three-point shooting percentage (34.6%) but are still ranked 6th in field goal percentage against (44.2%).  Very slowly the Heat have been getting back to doing the right things on D, and I think the use of Wade at point guard in crucial minutes, as well as the return of Quentin Richardson and the re-emergence of Dorell Wright are serious contributing factors. 

Switching back to offense, a few guys have been taking it up a notch the past couple weeks so naturally we'll take a look at their numbers.  The first three guys are all starters, which is very good.  I'd much rather have my starters, the guys getting the majority of the minutes, to be playing the best. 

DWYANE WADE

Wade is having an interesting year, to say the least.  A lot of criticism has fallen on Dwyane because of how many long-range jumpers he is taking instead of just driving with the ball and getting to the foul line, which has been his bread and butter for the past several years. 

Looking at his last five games the thing that I must point out is that all of these numbers are improvements over the five previous games.  Wade is shooting 46% from the field, averaging 26.8 ppg and while he's only shot 71% from the foul line, he is getting to the line 12.4 times/game in the last 5 and 15.7 times/game in the last 3.  Compare that to just 7.4 free-throws/game in the 5 games leading up...

The rest of his stat line is impressive as well: 6.4 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1 steal and 1.4 blocks.  All we can hope for is that the numbers remain steady and Wade keeps pushing. 

MICHAEL BEASLEY

Beasley has been very good ever since back-to-back rough games against Oklahoma City and the Nets.  Since then, Beasley has scored in double digits in 10 straight games, including two double doubles. 

However, in his last five games Beas has looked even better, showing confidence with the ball in his hands and proving to be a formidable first scoring option when D-Wade is resting on the bench.  His average points (18.8), field goal% (53%), free throw% (84%), rebounds (9.4) and assists (1.2) are all well above his season averages. 

JERMAINE O'NEAL

Before the season began I tagged Jermaine O'Neal as the wild card for the Heat.  From that standpoint, he has more then exceeded my expectations and has been a model for consistency for the Heat.  The biggest knock on him from last year was the lack of rebounding, but that problem is now moot.  Looking at his last six games, J-O has stayed hot from the field, shooting 55% but has struggled from the foul line.  On the year his free-throw average has been 61%, but a much worse 46% of late. 

His other numbers are all big improvements however, starting with his rebounding and assists.  How about 11.6 rebounds/game and 2.0 assists/game to go along with 1.6 blocks/game, all higher then his season averages. 

HOT HEAT SHOOTERS

In my last stats blog I mentioned that the Heat had four guys shooting over 50%.  While the players are different, the statement remains the same....sort of.  We'll start with the guy whose leading the pack.  None other then the ‘big cat' Jamaal Magloire.  That is, of course, if in order to be eligible for this honor you make the minimum amount of shots taken to be six.  Magloire is 5-of-6 from the field on the season, in just three games. 

Getting back to reality, Jermaine O'Neal still sits at the top of the list, shooting 56%.  A nice surprise is right behind J-O, and while the sample size is small its still notable that Dorell Wright has hit 20 of his 36 shots, including 6-of-10 from three-point range.  That's 56% and 60% to go with the great defense he's been opening a lot of eyes with. 

Wright has always been known as a great defender, but while he's been hiding the past few seasons, he has been working extremely hard on his shot.   Should he continue to hit them, you better believe that D-Wright will be stealing minutes away from James Jones and Quentin Richardson.  Oh, and have you noticed the on-court chemistry between Wright and Dwyane Wade

The final 50% shooter is none other then Mario Chalmers, who has hit 50.4% of his field goals this season.  He's taken about 100 more shots then Dorell Wright, so obviously the consistency is there.  The troubling thing is that Rio only takes 6.8 shots a game.  When your point guard can shoot at or around 50%, it should be a priority to get him move involved in the offense. 

Of course, there is only so much ball to go around.  The Heat have several guys who are lethal with the ball in their hands and Chalmers isn't high on that list.  Mario has to learn to get the offense going a bit quicker too; there have been too many times where I've seen the Heat just standing still on offense and not get a play going until the shot clock is in single digits. 

Tomorrow we'll take a look at a couple guys who could be on the brink something big for both themselves and the Heat, as well as a pair of guys in need of a jolt.