Don't you wish the Heat could play Indiana every night? Considering how much trouble that Miami has gotten from the Pacers in the past, it's pretty awesome that the Heat moved to 3-0 against Jermaine O'Neal's former club. The win kept Miami above .500 and in sole possession of 5th place in the East. The only thing that surprised me was that J-O was pretty quiet last night; in the first two games between these teams Jermaine was close to dominant. Luckily it didn't matter as the Heat led from start to finish, and when Rafer Alston hit a trey with 3:17 left in the 1st quarter to put Miami up by 10, they'd lead by double digits the rest of the way.
The Heat started just 1-of-4 from the field, but a Wade triple would kill that poor start and give Miami a quick 5-0 lead. The early advantage turned into the Heat's best start to a game this season when Jermaine O'Neal made a sick spin move and scored on Roy Hibbert for a 9-0 Heat lead. The Pacers responded with an 8-0 run to get back in the game, but you could tell early on that this one was going to go Miami's way.
Dwyane Wade finished the first quarter with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, but I wish we could give him credit for the shot he made that didn't count. The Pacers had a foul to give in the final seconds, and Wade was the beneficiary. He was wrapped up by Brandon Rush but still (while looking at the Heat bench) put up an 18-foot hook shot that went off glass and in. Seriously...how many times have we seen him make some ridiculous shot like that? We are So lucky that this guy is on our side.
Miami kept way ahead of the Pacers throughout the first half. Miami finished the 1st half with a 19-point lead, scoring 62 giant points. This is exactly what I was hoping, that the Heat would be up big in the 2nd half and be able to rest their starters in the 4th quarter. Keeping guys fresh is going to be key with the Heat playing so many games this week.
The 2nd half was basically the Heat leading by more then 20 the entire time. It was great to see so many guys playing well, but unfortunately for Pacers fans that kind of thing is pretty normal against Indiana. The most interesting part of the 2nd half was a foul. Pacers rookie A.J. Price grabbed the front of D-Wade's shoulder as Wade left the ground for a layup and brought Dwyane to the ground, almost directly into Mike Dunleavy's legs. A flagrant-1 was called and Wade hit both free throws, his last poitns of the night.
- Wade's 18 first quarter points matched a season-high for a quarter, and he finished with 32 despite sitting out the entire 4th quarter. He also hit his first 4 attempts from beyond the arc, collected 3 assists and 2 steals.
- Wade also hit another big milestone during the 2nd quarter. A nice reverse layup gave Wade 11,000 points in his NBA career. He is the 40th active player to reach the mark.
- Some people might look at the box score and see Quentin Richardson's line of 5 points on 2-of-4 with 7 rebounds and a steal and be a little perturbed with his lack of offense. Those people need to start paying attention to him on defense.
- Q held Danny Granger, the best player on the Pacers roster, to his worst game of the season. Granger shot just 2-for-16 from the field and 1-of-6 from beyond with 3 boards and 2 assists. Those numbers are pretty staggering for Granger and most of the credit goes to Richardson.
- Michael Beasley was the only starter to start the 4th quarter and he stayed in the entire time. He had 6 points in the quarter and finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, another double double for the budding star.
- For what it's worth, Daequan Cook played the last 5:54 and went 2-for-2, including a trey. If Daequan begins to hit some shots again, that could play into the decision of whether or not to deal Dorell Wright.
- Miami moved to 9-0 when holding their opponent under 40% shooting (Indiana shot 36.5%). The Heat also moved to 9-0 when shooting over 50% (they shot 56.3%). If that isn't enough, they also shot 58.8% from 3-point range, hitting 10-of-17 from beyond the arc.
Tomorrow the Heat play in Charlotte at 7. The Bobcats are VERY good at home this year, and this game is significant in the standings as the Heat hold a half-game lead over Charlotte for the 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Keep in mind that Atlanta has moved ahead of Orlando by a half game for 3rd place in the Eastern Conference.