I can't say for sure if this was my first NBA preseason experience. If I had been before, it wasn't anything memorable. That is no longer the case as last night is something that I wont soon forget. While it didn't count towards anything, it was the first time I'd seen the new Miami Heat team playing together.
D-Wade kicked things off with a nice block (that he didn't get credit for), and LeBron tried capping the fast break with a layup...but it seemed a little forced. Shortly after, LeBron nailed a nice J. His jumper is like a laser...not much arc but goes directly into the rim. It's pretty amazing to see; he makes things look so effortless.
Wade left the floor 3:17 into 1st quarter with a right hamstring injury. Sat on bench being treated for a few minutes before heading back to locker room during first TV timeout, walking with a noticeable limp.
Dwyane wouldn't return to the game, but thankfully, the injury isn't anything major. He tweaked his hammy and is pretty much day-to-day. Coach Spo said that he'll be reevaluated in a week. Dwyane should be back on the floor in plenty of time to get warmed up for the season opener on October 26th in Boston.
Something we barely saw last season...James Jones in the game in the 1st half. He'd miss his first shot, a trey, but would provide the usual solid D and good positioning. His shot would get going later, sort of.
Chris Bosh was very active in the pain on both ends. 3 points and 3 boards in the first 6 minutes was just a preview of things to come. Soon after that, Udonis gets thunderous ovation when he came in with 4 min left in 1st. As much as these fans are infatuated with the Big 3, I love how everybody appreciates Udonis and what he means to the organization.
LeBron ended the 1st quarter with a nice drive, 360 spin and slam. Crowd erupted and buzzed for a good 60 seconds on that one.
Dexter Pittman started the 2nd quarter and looked overwhelmed a little on both ends. A bad pass-turnover and then a touch foul came on consecutive possessions, but he would quickly regroup. He is a big boy, even at young age...bigger then most on the floor. Lots of potential. He played 5:28 in the 1st half, hitting his only shot and both his free throws.
Carlos Arroyo looks a little more aggressive...or a little less passive. Either way, I was very pleased with what I saw from him. Only knock was that he still isn't the distributer that someone playing the point should be. However, if that is the case then he is on the right team because the Heat has plenty of guys now who can move the ball.
The reserve team played very well while LeBron, Bosh, Wade and Miller were all on the bench. The most surprising effort of the game came from Mario Chalmers. He was a question mark to even play, and Coach Spo had even said that Rio looked a little slower in recent practice due to his ankle injury. I'd say a great combination of aggression and confidence is what we saw from Chalmers; maybe the new number will do him good.
Not that it really matters in the preseason, but the Heat led this one from start to finish. Once the lead got to double digits it would never go back as Miami notched the 105-89 win. After D-Wade left the game early, LeBron took over. Normally a Dwyane Wade injury would mean a dark cloud over the arena...but that wasn't the case. That's what happens when you have all this talent on one roster. The atmosphere was electric, something never before seen in Miami for a preseason game.
- Arroyo to Miller to James on a fast break for a LeBron slam...just an example of the nice ball movement we saw all night.
- The Big 3 played together for a total of 197 seconds.
- Bosh scored his 20th point with 5 minutes left in 3rd before coming out of the game soon after. He finished with 20 points, 6 boards and 2 steals.
- LeBron came out just before Bosh did, finishing with 18 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 2 blocks.
- Udonis Haslem picked right up where he left off last season. 14 points (on 6-of-9) and 13 boards. Mr. Double Double is at it again.
- Mario Chalmers looked like a new player...confident with his jumper and making very quick, nice passes. He finished with 7 assists, 5 of them coming in the 2nd quarter.
- James Jones shot 2-of-7 from beyond the arc. He could be a very valuable asset off bench if he regains his sharpshooting form.
- Chemistry issues? I don't think so...at least not tonight.
One thing I'm looking forward to that I don't think we'll fully see until the regular season is the on-court interaction between the Big 3, especially when celebrating/congratulating each other after nice plays. I also love how when LeBron gets the ball, the crowd grows louder and louder the longer he holds it...in anticipation of something awesome on the horizon.