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Big 3 and little Arroyo lead Heat back into win column

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It's nice to see the hard-working Joel Anthony back for the Heat.
It's nice to see the hard-working Joel Anthony back for the Heat.

With the recent string of losses for Miami, the emphasis on Friday's game was to just have a solid team effort and do the things correctly that they knew they could.  When the game began, the Heat was up and down.  They started 0-for-5 from the field, then made their next 4, which sparked an 11-1 run for Miami. 

Perhaps getting a little complacent, they allowed Philly to go on a 10-0 run of their own.  The Heat snapped right back into it though, flipping the ‘run' switch and scoring 7 straight before the game finally settled down into a more back and forth contest.  Standing out for Miami was Carlos Arroyo, who hit a few shots early on to continue his recent solid shooting.

What stood out me during the 2nd quarter was the hustle effort and defense of Joel Anthony.  The injury to Udonis Haslem was allowing Joel a 2nd chance to get back in Erik Spoelstra's good graces and he made the most of it, even looking good on some pick-n-rolls.  He was back to his old, hard working self...at least for one night.

Miami kept trying to pull away but Jodie Meeks wouldn't let them, scoring 18 of the last 26 points Philly scored in the 1st half.  He did that while playing only 9 minutes, on 7-for-8 shooting and a perfect 4-of-4 from downtown.  Every game there is some guy who you wouldn't expect that has a standout night against the Heat, and last night that guy was Meeks.

Even though the Sixers managed to shoot over 50% in the first half, which the Heat have been very good about not letting their opponents do, Miami still held a 4-point lead when the 3rd quarter began.  The seesaw battle continued, but the Heat never gave up the lead.  It was very similar to some of the Heat's recent losses where they trailed by just a couple points for long periods of time but could never get over the hump. 

Miami led by just 2 when the 4th began, but that would quickly change in favor of the Heat.  Whatever was said in-between quarters must have sparked the team because they came out going on a 12-2 run, going up by 12 and setting the tone for the rest of the game.  Instead of battling a short deficit in the final period, Philly was suddenly forced into playing catch up, which really messed them up. 

Halfway through the quarter Miami was holding their largest lead of the game, up by 13.  As is the case in any NBA game, Philly would make their run, outscoring the Heat 7-2 in less then a minute.  A Dwyane Wade and 1 would end that, and act as the final nail in the coffin even though there was still 3:15 remaining in the game. 

The final minutes of the contest were very boring.  Each team would hit only one field goal from that point on; Miami scored their last points with 2:25 on the clock and Philly's finally score came with 1:13 left.  The Sixers may have been able to make it interesting, but they missed 3 free throws down the stretch and wouldn't even touch the ball after missing their final foul shot with 38 seconds left. 

Joel Anthony showed up with the kind of game I was expecting from him to begin the season, using his hustle and defense to help spark his teammates.  He played a season-high 31 minutes, finishing with 7 points (2-of-4 from the field, 3-of-4 from the line), 5 rebounds and a blocked shot.  With Udonis out, I imagine Erik Spoelstra would love to use Joel like this pretty often, but first we have to see if he can be this productive against better opponents.

Carlos Arroyo had made 7-of-10 from downtown over his last 5-games coming into last night against Philly.  He kept the good times rolling, scoring a season-high 17 points and hitting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.  He started the game by hitting his first 5 shots and you could just tell that he was playing with confidence that he hadn't felt in a while. 

He also did a good job on Philly point guard Jrue Holiday, holding him to 9 points on 3-for-9 shooting.  Arroyo played so well that he found himself on the court in the 4th quarter.  He had been kept on the bench during the 4th quarter in Miami's last three games.  Similar to Joel, we have to hope this good game had more to do with Carlos playing well then it did with going up against the last place Sixers.

GAME NOTES

  • Big Z got back to playing the role he prefers, logging 16 minutes and coming away with 4 points and 5 boards. 
  • James Jones finally hit a triple, but he took just two shots in 14 minutes. 
  • D-Wade is finding his touch again, finally finishing the way we know he can.  23 points on 7-of-16 from the field with 6 rebounds (3 offensive), 8 assists and 2 steals.  The 8 dimes are a season-high. 
  • Similar story for LeBron; 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block.  A quietly productive game for King James, though his shooting wasn't that good (5-of-15). 
  • Rounding out the Big 3, Chris Bosh finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds to go with 2 assists, a steal and a block.
  • Since his 20-point game in Memphis last week, Eddie House has shot just 3-of-17 and 2-of-12 from 3-point range.  He played just 14 minutes last night, his lowest in 2 weeks, but his spot in the rotation seems secure.  Spo trusts him a lot more then he does Mario Chalmers
  • It looked like Jodie Meeks was going to have his way with the Heat after scoring 18 points in just nine 1st half minutes.  Miami had seen this before though, and held him in check the rest of the game.  He hit just 1-of-5 for 3 points while playing 16 minutes in the 2nd half. 

Little time to enjoy the win though...Miami gets right back at it tonight when they face the Dallas Mavericks out in Texas.