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LeBron James gives us a scare, but turns out fine in Heat win over CSKA Moscow

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Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives around Center Dmitry Sokolov #30 of CSKA Moskow on October 12, 2010 in Miami, Florida.
Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives around Center Dmitry Sokolov #30 of CSKA Moskow on October 12, 2010 in Miami, Florida.

After a first half that was pretty sloppy and slow, the Heat got things going after halftime and came away with a win over CSKA Moscow.  Miami played without Dwyane Wade and Carlos Arroyo but still had most of their players ready to go.  Still, Erik Spoelstra only went 10-deep against Moscow, probably to save his players for game two of the Heat's back-to-back tomorrow night in Oklahoma City. 

Miami trailed for the entire first half, unable to get much going offensively against CSKA's zone defense.  They turned the ball over 12 times and starters Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller were both struggling mightily with fouls and shooting.  Chris Bosh was the only player doing anything offensively in the early stages.  He had six points after the 1st quarter while no other Heat player had more then three.

Moscow's outside shooting kept them in front but their hot start began to slowly cool off as the Heat began to get their bearings. Zydrunas Ilgauskas provided a nice spark off the bench, hitting 4 of his first 5 shots.  Still, Miami scored just 39 points in the 1st half and went into the locker room down by 5.

Preseason or not, Erik Spoelstra made it clear that his team intended to win this game.  LeBron James began carrying the ball more and getting the Heat going in transition, and that led to the Heat turning things around.  Miami hadn't led since the score was 2-0, but early in the 3rd quarter they re-took the lead and never looked back.  It was quite the turnaround, but something that you should expect when the Heat are playing a non-NBA team, regardless of who they are.

We all got quite a scare late in the 3rd when LeBron suddenly took himself out of the game and limped straight to the locker room without stopping at the bench.  He was followed by team trainers and the team doctor as well as Dwyane Wade.  They all returned shortly after when it came out that LeBron was just suffering from muscle cramps.  Talk about a scary 10 minutes. 

The 4th quarter was a time for bubble guys Pat Beverly and Kenny Hasbrouck to shine.  Beverly's quickness gets him attention, but I was more impressed with what I saw from Hasbrouck.  His positioning was solid on both ends of the floor, and he moved the ball well on offense.  I'd expect them both to continue getting a lot of playing time so Erik Spoelstra can see as much as possible before making a decision on which one he'll keep...assuming he doesn't want to just hang on to injured guard Da'Sean Butler. 

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat shot just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half.  They finished 5-of-19.  Not very impressive. 
  • James Jones has been very Jekyll & Hyde with his shooting.  Consistency will be key if he wants a regular spot in the rotation.  He finished 3-of-7 from the field, hitting two of his six 3-pointers. 
  • Udonis had a quiet night, scoring 9 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in 34 minutes of work. 
  • Mario Chalmers was in foul trouble all night, finishing with 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting.  He missed all four of his 3-point attempts. 
  • Chris Bosh responded well from his poor game in San Antonio, hitting 8-of-14 from 17 points with 8 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals.  His range is very impressive, especially considering how well he moves in the painted area. 
  • LeBron struggled with his jumper but still managed 22 points 4 rebounds and 7 assists. He hit 9-of-11 from the charity stripe.
  • James will sit out Wednesday nights game in New Orleans

The Heat are right back at it tomorrow night when they face the Hornets in New Orleans.  This game will be televised both locally and nationally.  Tipoff is 8pm from New Orleans Arena.