I just had a chance to finish watching last night's game as I have been a little under the weather this week. This game opened a lot of eyes to the fragility of the Heat's rotation. With no Beasley available, the offense was held in check for long stretches. We've always got the fail safe to fall back on, that this season is just a stopgap until we can cash in with some free agent love. But still, that doesn't mean that is inst frustrating when you are in the moment.
A couple very nice Heat dunks highlighted the opening minutes, as first it was D-Wade with a nice little lob to Mike Beasley for his 49th dunk of the year. Then it was D-Wade doing it himself with tall, tomahawk dunk. Wade had a pretty great opening quarter with 14 points, 3 assists and a perfect 4-for-4 start from the foul line. As for the quarter itself, Miami got out of it scoring 36 points and holding a 13-point lead.
I was shocked to see James Jones on the court to start the 2nd quarter, but he was the first choice to play the 3 in a lineup without D-Wade or Beasley. The reserve lineup didn't help out the Heat cause, allowing Toronto to go on an 11-2 run to start the quarter. Miami didn't start scoring again until the starting unit returned and by the Toronto had come all the way back and taken a 1-point lead.
With Wade getting double teamed most of the 2nd quarter, Jermaine O'Neal became the beneficiary. J-O had 11 points in the quarter (including the last 7 for the Miami) and Wade had 21 in the half, giving the Heat a slim 3-point halftime lead. It didn't last very long though, with Toronto getting a few buckets in a row mid-way through the 3rd to take a 4-point lead. That will happen when Miami starts the half shooting 3-for-14.
A big triple by Dorell Wright as time expired got the Heat to within 4 points heading into the 4th, but Toronto kept drilling jumpers and Miami was struggling offensively which led to the lead stretching to 9. Miami finally seemed to get a little going on offense, but really it was just guys finally hitting shots. A 6-0 run got the Heat briefly back in the game, but very quickly Toronto scored the 6 right back.
Miami made another run towards the end, but they kept chucking up three after three and not making many of them. Last time I checked, this team was not a three-point shooting team. Maybe the outcome would've been different if Mike Beasley had played at all in the 2nd half, but at least his right knee injury isn't anything serious. Erik Spoelstra wasn't shy about using Super Cool's injury as an excuse.
"Our rotation got thrown out of whack. With him out of there, I think it probably would have been different. Michael was playing in a good flow early in the game."
Udonis had one of his best games in a while; scoring 16 on 5-of-12 shooting while grabbing 11 boards for his 10th double double of the season. Still, there was a stretch where I was dreading him taking jumpers. The hot/cold spells that Haslem seems to go through have been very extreme.
I have to say, I quite liked the Raptors ‘Toronto Huskies' throwbacks. I'm sure the fans in Toronto liked them more, considering the colors were strikingly similar to their Maple Leafs. And how about how well Chris Bosh and LeBron James played against the Heat this week? Anybody think they may have been showing off or dare I say, auditioning? Well of course not...but its fun to think about.
- Wade finished with 35 points and 10 assists, making all 8 of his free throws.
- The Heat moved to 0-11 when allowing their opponent to shoot 50% from the field.
- Props to Q and Dorell for their great effort on Hedo Turkoglu, pretty much shutting him down the entire game. Turkoglu took only 5 shots, making 1.
- Rafer Alston had a very rough night offensively. He made just 4 of his 16 shots and dished out 2 measly assists.
- Despite the loss, Miami shot very well from the foul line. 18-of-21 is nothing to scoff at...but 5-of-22 from beyond the arc sure is.
Next up, the road trip continues in Detroit. The Pistons are a shell of the team they were a few years ago, and the Heat are going to be hungry to get back on the winning side of things. As long as Beasley plays and doesn't disrupt the fragile rotation that became so obvious last night, I expect a very good game from our Heat. Beasley's thoughts on playing...
"It's scary, especially when I first did it. I got the ice on it, it's a little sore right now but I can run and jump so I should be ready for the next one [Friday at Detroit]."