To paraphrase the lyrics from a 1972 song by Jim Croce:
You don't tug on Superman's cape You don't spit into the wind You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger And you don't mess around with WadeI'm sure Wade speaks the truth when he claims that Aaron Brooks isn't a dirty player. The real problem is that Brooks doesn't appear to be too bright. For the umpteenth time in his career, Wade got angry and he got even. He was positively Ginobili-esque as he zig-zagged and hop-stepped his way unimpeded towards the basket as the smallish Rockets could only look on. On consecutive nights, he reached 40 points and every one of those points were needed to put away the pesky Rockets who put in an impressive performance against the NBA's toughest defense team. For as much talent was amassed by the Heat, it was assumed that they wouldn't have a problem scoring but no one expected this team to quickly be at the top of several major defensive categories at this point of the season. None of that mattered to Luis Scola (22 points), Kevin Martin (21 points) and Brooks (20 points) as they did a number on the Heat's defense. The Rockets ultimately hit four fewer field goals than the Heat but attempted a whopping 19 more attempts due to grabbing 16 offensive rebounds (compared with Miami's 4). The high number of missed Houston field goals still meant that the Heat ended up only being outrebounded by 4 but the Rockets also stole the ball 11 times in an unusually sloppy display of careless ballhandling by the Heat. Countless passes were picked off by the Rockets, something that Wade and James usually are on the other end of the play, and there were several unforced turnovers that could have cost the game for the Heat including a backcourt violation by James in crunch time. Yet none of it mattered at the end as the Heat did just enough to outlast the Rockets, including hitting their free throws. The Hack-A-Joel technique surprisingly backfired as Anthony clinched the game by hitting four free throws in the final 35 seconds of play. Yes, Joel Anthony. Yes, we both saw the same images and no you weren't dreaming. The Heat thus far have shown they can win ugly "grind-em-out" games on their strength of their defense or games such as these on their considerable offensive strengths a la D'Antoni. And so ends the Heat's triumphant December where they went 15-1 and outscored their opponents 13 points per game. By now you might have heard that no other NBA team in history has ever won 10 consecutive road games in a calendar month and the Heat accomplished it after playing together competitively in a little over a month. Their 15 wins were just one shy of the record for most in December set by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971. Not only that, the trio of Wade, James and Chris Bosh did it with essentially a collection of minimum-salaried players as Mike Miller only now begins to be incorporated into the rotation and Udonis Haslem lost to a serious foot injury 40 days ago against the Memphis Grizzlies. (OK, Anthony makes a little more than $3 million but then again he's paid the big bucks to knock down crucial free throws in the closing moments of tight games.) Only one game separates the Heat from the Boston Celtics now for top spot in the Eastern Conference and their 25 wins is second only to the Spurs who have 27. With Rajon Rondo sidelined and news of Kevin Garnett's latest knee injury set to released soon, the Celtics have a tough road ahead to keep pace with the surging Heat. If this is how they play in their second calendar month together, what awaits them in the New Year?