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Heat Stumble Out Of The Gate, Get Dunked By McNuggets

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Wade plays for the best team there is...America

 

This game went pretty much as expected, with the Nuggets coming out with a chip on their collective shoulder after their embarrassing loss on Saturday.  Coach Spo admitted after the game that his team did not come out and play in the first half, but was happier with their attempted comeback after halftime.  But tonight was a night where you could see quite clearly the holes in this Heat team, as they have begun to struggle getting through their toughest stretch of schedule. 

KEY TO VICTORY

Denver got off to an early start and never looked back.  As I said, they came out hard looking to quickly erase the memories of their debacle in New Jersey.  Denver shot 15-for-20 in the 1st quarter outscoring the Heat by 12 with a total team effort, with no single player standing out for the Nuggets in the early frame.  Of course, Miami turning the ball over 6 times didn’t help.  The Heat also managed only 1 assist in the 1st quarter. 

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Only 13 minutes for Michael Beasley who at times looked lost and overmatched.  On a night where Beasley and Cook were both needed to step up, they combined to shoot 4-for-18 from the field and only 1-for-7 from beyond the arc.  Cook was 0-for-6 from 3 and Beasley had only 3 rebounds. 

Udonis also had a very tough night, with his hands full dealing with Kenyon Martin.  K-Mart seemed to beat U-D to every ball en route to a double-double (18 and 10) while Haslem had only 6 points and 4 boards. 

The Heat centers need to be much more effective, but I think we are barking up the wrong tree.  If we want consistent numbers and effort from our 1 spot, we are going to have to look past our 12-man roster.  Tonight our centers combined for 0 points and 7 rebounds, 5 of which went to Joel Anthony.  Joel played 36 minutes after playing 33 in the Heat’s last game against Charlotte, the most minutes he had played in a game since December 15th, a stretch of 25 games.  He also played some great D in the 2nd half, and finished with 5 blocks. 

D-Wade did all that he could for the Heat tonight, scoring 33 points on 12-of-22 shooting, but couldn’t get any help from his teammates.  Despite several nice passes to for open looks, Wade finished with only 2 assists. 

GAME NOTES

The Heat went on a 13-2 run in the 3rd quarter to draw within 5 points of Denver, and kept it relatively close until Chauncey hit a big 3 with 9:37 left and the Heat only down by 4.  From then on, they would never get closer then 5 as the Nugs pulled away.

Denver started 0-for-16 from 3-land, but hit their final 5 three-point shots to bury the Heat.  They all came in the 4th quarter.

The Heat committed 19 turnovers and Denver would make them pay, scoring 27 points off of them.

Denver shot over 50% (50.6%), which is the Heat’s 4th opponent in the last 13 games to shoot over 50%.  Before that, Miami had gone an NBA record 35 straight games holding their opponent under 50% shooting.

IN THE STANDINGS

4th Atlanta 30-21 --
5th Detroit 27-23 -2.5
6th Miami 27-24 -3.0
7th Philadelphia 26-24 -3.5
8th Milwaukee 25-29 -6.5
9th New Jersey 24-29 -7.5


The Hawks continue to inch away from the Heat with a home win over the Wiz, while the Spurs knocked Jersey out of the 8 seed.  Chicago got a big comeback win at home against Detroit, moving them to within a game of 8th, a half game behind the Nets.

ON THE HORIZON

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Wrong jersey, right idea


The Heat continue to face hot teams that are below them in the standings as they fly north to play the Bulls.  Buckle up Heat fans…its going to be an interesting final third of the season…but we’ll certainly know what our Heat team is made of.