This is a tough one to swallow, as the Heat seemed in control of the game for most of it. A pretty ‘blah' 3rd quarter led to an ugly 4th in which Miami's offense appeared to be playing in quicksand. Guys looked to suddenly lose their confidence, the ball wasn't moving much and shots just weren't going down. Thankfully there isn't much time to dwell on this one because the Heat are right back at it tomorrow night at home against the Clippers.
The Heat couldn't have started the game on a much better note, hitting five of their first six shots and jumping out to an early 7-point lead. Wade set up Super Cool with a nice lob for an ally-oop and Quentin hit a pair of early triples before having to sit down with two 1st quarter fouls. D-Wade picked up the slack, finishing the quarter with 13 points capped off by a 3-pointer that he hit over Stephen Jackson. Wade scored the last 7 points for the Heat and 11 of their last 13.
As a team the Heat turned the ball over just once and scored 30, taking a nice 10-point lead into the 2nd quarter. Now that all their players are healthy, Erik Spoelstra was able to return to the rotation that was doing so well before Dwyane Wade got hurt. Taking Jermaine O'Neal out of the game before any other starter allows him to start the 2nd quarter with the rest of the backups, giving the Heat a solid scoring option among the complimentary players.
Udonis Haslem got off to a great start, scoring 6 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in his first 8 minutes. The reserve team did a great job with Wade on the bench, increasing the lead from 10 to 14. When D-Wade did return, it was as though he didn't miss any time as he finished on a beautiful defense splitting drive, already his 3rd or 4th on the night.
The first half ended with a milestone for Stephen Jackson. He hit a triple that brought the Bobcats within 9 points of Miami; it was the 1,000th three pointer of his career. The 2nd half started out very nicely for Dwyane Wade and the Heat, as Wade scored 6 early points including another one of those ridiculous drives where he cuts through seemingly the entire opposing team.
A very nice moment for Michael Beasley after he drive and dunked all over Theo Ratliff; as he came back down the floor he ran up to D-Wade and pounded himself on the chest as if to say ‘I got u, Dwyane'. Beasley was having himself a nice 3rd quarter, scoring 6 points in the first 6 minutes on 3-of-3 shooting. Unfortunately right after that the Bobcats went on a 14-3 run, drawing within just 2 points of Miami.
The Heat were able to get their lead back up to around 6 for the first few minutes of the 4th quarter, but really it was just a countdown to when D-Wade would come back into the game. That took almost 5 minutes in the final quarter before Wade was summoned from the bench. Shortly after that Mario Chalmers was called for his 5th foul, but more importantly it was the Heat's 5th team foul of the 4th quarter and there was still about 7 minutes left in the game.
An 8-0 Charlotte run got them down by just 1 point half-way through the quarter, and then a few minutes later Raymond Felton hit a trey that gave the Bobcats their first lead since the score was 6-4. It took long enough, as both teams seemed to miss several shots over a 3-minute span because the Bobcats had five different possessions where they were down by 1 with an opportunity to take the lead. Finally for them the 5th time was the charm.
The Heat were going to need Dwyane Wade to get back going. He had just two points, on free throws, while missing all three of his 4th quarter shots. He never would though, and it was Jermaine O'Neal who was trying to play hero for the Heat. He tied the game with a nice jumper with just over a minute left, then came up with a huge block on Raymond Felton to keep the Heat down by 2 with 32 seconds left.
The big shot would be taken by Udonis Haslem, but it didn't go down. It was Felton who ended up at the foul line with a chance to put the game away, but he missed the first foul shot, leaving the Heat with 7.2 seconds left and a chance to tie the game with a 3. The ball would go in Wade's hands but he couldn't get off a good look, missing the triple. Great job closing out the game by Miami, allowing the Bobcats to end the game on a 10-4 run.
Dwyane Wade disappeared in the 4th quarter, but really so did the entire Heat offense. Wade missed all 5 of his shots in the final period, scoring his only 2 points from the foul line while turning the ball over twice. As the team, the Heat scored a measly 12 points and after starting the quarter by hitting three of their first four shots, they finished the game missing eleven of their final thirteen.
Michael Beasley finished with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting and 9 rebounds. It was a quietly productive game for Super Cool, but anyone watching could see the stretches where Beas was really busting his ass. Still waiting for those stretches to become a more consistent thing though...but Erik Spoelstra did give Beasley a chance to repeat his 4th quarter performance against the Hawks. Beasley came into the 4th with around 6 minutes left but did nothing to stand out on either end and was replaced 3 minutes later by Jermaine O'Neal. I imagine if Beasley had been playing well, J-O would've taken out Udonis, but still you would think that Erik Spoelstra would give Beasley a little more then just 3 minutes to get going when the Heat were desperate for offense.
Overall the Heat are getting a solid contribution from their two point guards, but they still each have little problems to work out. Arroyo needs to take a few more shots and allow himself to be a scoring option. The more he creates for himself, the more room he'll end up making for his teammates. Also, I've noticed that sometimes Arroyo will look to where he is gong to pass the ball a little early, allowing the opponent an opportunity for an easy steal. He's only done this a handful of times and I'm sure the coaches will work with him on this during practice.
With Chalmers, I've had the same problem with him all year. When he is running the offense it seems to take forever for any plays to get going. Too many times when Rio is out there the Heat end up having to force up a difficult shot because the shot clock is suddenly down below 5. Other then that, however, Rio has been playing much better. Defensively he is still a little slow off the dribble but the zone D the Heat has been using keeps Rio from getting burned. It also allows for his quick hands to get in those passing lanes and create turnovers.
- After blowing a 19-point lead against the Bobcats earlier this year, the Heat blew a 15-point lead last night.
- Quentin Richardson hit two of three triples in the games first few minutes, but that trend would end abruptly. After that, the Heat would hit just one of their final fifteen shots from beyond the arc, finishing 3-of-18.
- The Heat finished the 3rd quarter by missing eleven of their last thirteen shots...so you can see they got a nice warm-up for the way they shot the ball in the 4th.
- James Jones played 11 minutes, taking away the time that usually goes to Daequan Cook. Jones finished with no points, 1 rebounds and 1 assist on 0-for-2 shooting.
- Dorell Wright was also held scoreless. He started the game by missing a pair of 3-pointers, which had me thinking ‘when did Dorell become a strictly 3-point guy?' He wouldn't attempt another trey for the rest of the game...but still, yes he is a very good outside shooter but he needs to remember that his inside game is what sets up his outside game.
- Udonis finished with 8 and 11. His 2nd rebound of the game was the 4,000th of his NBA career. Congrats to U-D!
- For the first time this season, the Heat lost a game when holding their opponent to under 40% shooting. They are now 17-1 on those occasions.
As I mentioned earlier, the Heat get right back at it tonight from the AAA when the Clippers come to town. Hopefully Miami can score more then 30 points in the 2nd half...it really sucks when you score the same amount of points in the 2nd half as you did in the 1st quarter. It's a good thing there is no chance of the Heat and Bobcats meeting in the playoffs, except in the amazingly highly unlikely case that they both make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Yeah...that aint gonna happen.