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Heat fall to Magic, still a night to remember in Miami

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On a night where the star was Alonzo Mourning, the Heat played hard but came up short down the stretch.  Orlando may have swept the rug out from under us, but the #33 banner still remains high over the court of the AAA.  The ceremony was top notch, leaving us with images that should stay burned in our memories forever. This really was a special night in Heat history, the first of (hopefully) many numbers retired.  It may not seem as significant now as it will be in a couple decades.  Maybe when the #3 goes up we’ll have a little different perspective. 

Back to the game, which was exciting enough to lead me to think that the Heat could hold their own in a 7-game series against the Magic.  They have played them well for the most part all season.   The main reasons the Heat couldn’t hold on last night were missed free throws throughout the game and not hitting their shots down the stretch.  Those are the things that will cause you to lose any playoff series, regardless of the opponent…but take that in a good way.  Miami is good enough to play (and beat) most teams in the league…when everyone plays as they ‘should’.  Unfortunately, inconsistency has become the only consistent thing with the way Miami plays.

Ok…on to the bad news.  Luther Head is out four to six weeks with a broken left hand.  That’s what happens when you reach in on Dwight Howard.  What does this mean?  Increase of minutes for James Jones and likely more minutes for the now miserable Daequan Cook, who finished tonight’s game 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.  Three of those came on very open looks in the final minute+.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

 

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D-Wade took 34 shots.  Just let that absorb for a second.  How badly are we in need for someone to take the load off of Wade?  I’m sorry Coach Spo, but in a game like this you need to get Michael Beasley more then only 19 minutes.  Other then Dwyane, he is the only pure scorer on the roster. 

Wade finished with 42 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in 41 minutes.  Not taking away from his performance, but some of his misses were ugly.  He needs to realize when to take a break and dish it off.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does Wade usually puts up an uggo.  He’ll get there…

Mario Chalmers had a solid game, but the glaring thing for me is the 3 straight missed free throws after being fouled shooting a 3.  The Heat were just 13-of-21 from the line, worst game from the charity stripe in quite a bit.

I thought the Heat centers did the best they could against Dwight Howard.  Jermaine O’Neal and Jamaal Magloire both fouled the crap out of Howard, but contributed on both ends.  O’Neal finished with 10 points, but none after hitting the first 2 shots of the 2nd half for Miami.  He did grab 7 boards (!) and blocked 3 shots while being limited to only 26 minutes due to foul trouble.  Magloire added 9 points and 8 boards (3 offensive) in 18 minutes. He’s been very productive of late, taking over the backup center duties without question.

Dwight Howard (22pts 18reb) got his 12th straight double double against the Heat.  Hmmm…maybe I spoke to soon about potential playoff matchups. 

IN THE STANDINGS

4th Atlanta 43-31 --
5th Miami 39-35 -4.0
6th Philadelphia 37-35 -5.0
7th Detroit 36-37 -6.5
8th Chicago 36-39 -7.5


Just the Heat in action, and they lost a half game on all the competition.  Tomorrow’s Game’s:
Detroit @ Cleveland- Hmmm…do I even need to say anything?  Cavs roll…likely by double digits.
Chicago @ Indiana- Go Pacers…pretend it’s the Heat you’re playing.
Atlanta @ Philly- If you think we have a shot at 4th place, go Philly.  If you just want to make sure we lock up the 5 seed, go Hawks.   Your call..

ON THE HORIZON

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The Heat need to remember the good times in Dallas

The Heat kick off a 3-game road trip...and it begins in (ugh) Dallas.  It’s always fun watching Haslem and Nowitzki duke it out though.  

FINAL THOUGHT

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—Very touching when Pat Riley turned to Mourning and said, "I love you, Zo. Your friends love you, your family loves you, and all of these people in Miami love Alonzo Mourning."…Couldn’t have been more appropriate for Riley to say Zo "sacrificed" more than anybody in the history of the organization. How true…Tears streamed down Zo’s face as the banner was raised. Everybody who knows Zo had to figure that would happen. Few are more emotional.

—Mourning made a joke about crying. He said when he came to the arena he saw a guy taking bets on whether he’d cry. Actually, friends and family were betting at his house Sunday night whether he’d cry. "So ya’ll can go collect your money because I know you were betting against me," he joked.