Heat fans hadn't seen the dominant, superstar version of Dwyane Wade since last season....until tonight. D-Wade came out ready to play in this one, eager to move on from his rough night in Boston. He did just that in the opening minutes, taking a nice pass from Chris Bosh and slamming it home to open the scoring. He also had 2 blocked shots in the first 2 minutes, both on Jason Kapono.
Chris Bosh started out 3-for-3 from the field and looked really good doing it, making low post moves and effortless looking buckets. The problem for the Heat was turnovers. Carlos Arroyo committed two early ones that were just ugly passes. LeBron turned the ball over five times, though he was the only Heat player to play the whole quarter. Dwyane Wade had to sit down sooner then he wanted after being called for his 2nd foul with about 4 minutes left.
The man of the 2nd quarter was James Jones. He was looking like his old self, drilling triples in a most confident way. He hit a trey on three straight possessions for Miami, capping a 16-2 Heat run. That's exactly what we're hoping for out of Jones because tonight isn't the only night he'll get multiple open looks, and with Mike Miller out until January the Heat will be relying more heavily on JJ.
Thanks to a 31-point 2nd quarter Miami went up by 8 at the half. Overall, the Heat looked much improved in most areas when compared to the night before in Boston. The main problems were turnovers and foul trouble. Led by LeBron's 6, Miami turned the ball over 10 times.
The Heat came out playing very well on both ends in the 3rd quarter but it was their D that stood out early. They forced turnovers on four straight Sixers possessions which included a couple of steals and a shot-click violation.
A D-Wade free throw less then 5 minutes into the quarter would give him his 20th point of the contest. He was having a great all-around game, looking nothing like he did in Boston the night before. Mid-way through the 3rd the Heat had an 18-point lead as Wade and LeBron were doing most of the scoring at that time.
James Jones came back into the game late in the quarter and picked up right where he left off, nailing another two 3-pointers. It ignited the Heat on a 13-3 run to close out the quarter and put the game pretty far out of reach for Philly, who trailed by 26.
Juwan Howard came off the bench for the first time to start the 4th quarter, along with Eddie House, Jerry Stackhouse, James Jones and D-Wade. The Sixers went to work attacking the reserve lineup, busting out with a 9-0 run in the first 2:08 of the 4th. Miami took a quick timeout but afterword the only lineup change was Udonis Haslem coming in for Stackhouse.
Following the timeout Dwyane Wade scored 6 straight points for the Heat, after which it was time to bring LeBron James and Chris Bosh back into the game. That little scare by Philly to open the quarter was enough for Erik Spoelstra to send out his superstars to close this game out.
Overall the 4th quarter belonged to Philadelphia, getting the deficit all the way down to 8 with just over a minute left. They had the ball with a chance to get it down to 5 but James Jones drew a huge charge and Dwyane Wade converted a nice layup to get his point total up to 30, and that would be it for the Sixers.
After a scary final quarter in which the Heat was outscored 33-17, Miami still got away with a 10-point victory. It was a night of redemption for Dwyane Wade and his teammates. It's going to be a while before this talented bunch can reach their full potential as a team, but that doesn't mean they wont be doing a lot of winning on the way.
Coming off the bench, James Jones tied his career high with 6 triples and scored 20 points for the first time since joining the Heat. Nights like this are exactly what Miami is hoping for from their outside shooters. Jones and Eddie House will team-up to take Mile Miller's minutes and tonight it was JJ who stole the show.
- Joel Anthony finished with just 3 rebounds in 17 minutes. One that came in the 3rd quarter stands out because of the awesome effort. The Heat were up by 14 and after an Andre Iguodala miss, Joel dove all over the court to secure the long rebound.
- After starting 0-4 from beyond the arc, the Heat made their next 7 and finished the game 8-of-16.
- In Boston on Tuesday night the Heat shot just 36.5% from the field but Miami came right back and hit 47.8% in Philly.
- Mario Chalmers sat out for a 2nd straight game due to his injured ankle. Hopefully he's able to return by Friday because Carlos Arroyo has not looked good.
- Chris Bosh had a quietly productive night with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
- Udonis Haslem was limited by foul trouble, finishing the game with 0 points and 5 rebounds in just under 13 minutes. It's actually kinda nice that Udonis can have a game like this and the Heat can still score 97 points and come away with the ‘W'.
- Jerry Stackhouse had two points, a rebound and an assist in 5 minutes of playing time.
- LeBron finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a block. He was also a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
It's a much more pleasant atmosphere in Heat-land tonight then it had been previously. In the end, Miami beat a team that they absolutely should've beaten, but it was nice to see progress in so many ways in such a short amount of time.
Miami is off until Friday when they'll welcome cross-state rival Orlando to the AAA for the Heat's home opener.