It's games like this that give us a reason to get really pissed when the Heat lose to Minnesota at home. It was a solid effort from Miami, who matched every Detroit run in the 2nd half. The game was tied at 62 with 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter...from that point the Heat closed the quarter on an 18-6 run. The Pistons would never draw closer then 7.
It didn't have the feel of a normal Heat-Pistons game, as none of the usual suspects for Detroit did much. The guys carrying the load for the Pistons were Antonio McDyess, who started the game 7-for-8 from the field, and Allen Iverson. Iverson did everything he could to bring the Pistons back, scoring 9 points in the first 6:12 of the 4th quarter.
Tayshaun had a good game but wasn't really a factor, and was abused on D when covering D-Wade in the 2nd half. Rasheed was invisible. He had 6 points and no threes, but was on the court for 36 minutes. Hamilton had his moments off the bench, but wasn't consistent enough to make a dent in the Heat's lead.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Why were the Heat able to match the Pistons and not fall behind? I think shifting D-Wade to the point when Mario Chalmers got into foul trouble was key. Quinn has become such a defensive liability that his minutes may see a significant drop whether or not the Heat pick up another PG.
Daequan Cook benefited from the increased minutes with Wade at the point. He didn't wait long to take his first shot either. He was in the game about 20 seconds before chucking up a three, and despite missing his first one, would go 3-for-5 in the first half from 3.
Another great sign was Michael Beasley being amazingly active on both side of the floor and crashing the boards like a guy his size should. His stat line looks mediocre; 11 points 7 boards and a block in 23 minutes. But those of us watching the game know how valuable Beasley was on the floor, and I hope he realizes that this is the kind of effort he'll need to put fourth on a gamely basis if he wants to succeed early in his career.
After dropping 55 against Orlando on Sunday while his teammates only scored 49, D-Wade seemed to be given a message from his fellow Heat players: "Get us the ball...we got you." Wade responded by dishing out a career high 16 assists. He also finished with 31 points on 11-for-20 shooting despite missing his first 4 shots, and grabbed 7 boards too.
I think D-Wade got some of our fan mail about his inconsistency at the foul line. In his last five games he has gone 49-of-52 from the line (94.2%). Let's hope this is a sign of things to come.
The Heat out-rebounded Detroit by ten, 44-34. They also shot a higher percentage from the foul line (85% for Miami 72% for Detroit).
Daequan's good game came despite taking a shot to the pills by Allen Iverson in the 3rd quarter. He was down on the court for a few minutes before walking off, and returned to the game un-phased.
The Heat hit 9 three-pointers tonight. Cook- 4, Moon- 2, Diawara- 2, Wade- 1.
Mario Chalmers is still having a rough go of it lately. He was in foul trouble all night, and only had 2 points and 2 assists to go with his 5 fouls. But the Heat were prepared, and they flourished with Wade running the point.
Tonight was D-Wade's 13th double double of the season.
The Heat's bench was huge, scoring 39 points. This comes despite Miami only using 3 players off their bench (I'm not counting the 3 minutes played by Joel Anthony). It was all about Cook, Beasley and Moon tonight; no Quinn, and no backup centers. Beasley and Haslem did a good job on Wallace and Maxiell in the 4th quarter.
IN THE STANDINGS
Not a whole lot of Eastern Conference action tonight...The Bulls got a big home win over the Magic, and the Cavs won again at home beating Memphis by 15. Chicago is now back to within a game of 8th place.
ON THE HORIZON
The games are all getting big now, and this one is the biggest we've had yet. Beating the teams behind us (Philly and Detroit) is great, but the Heat will now travel to Atlanta and try to claw within a game of 4th place