First off, I'm sorry for the late posting. I got home late last night and couldn't finish watching the game until this afternoon. It turned out to be a pretty awesome event for me; I couldn't keep my eyes open and went to sleep with the Heat down big in the 3rd quarter, and then I got to watch that amazing comeback after sleeping on that huge deficit.
It was nice to see Michael Beasley being aggressive early on; definitely a good sign. Once he gets comfortable with driving (again), I believe that he will finish the play with more consistency. The story of the first quarter however, was the play of Joel Anthony. How does 4-of-4 for 9 points sound? Much better then the next appearance for Mike Beasley, whose promising 1st quarter became a dreadful 2nd quarter.
He put up several long jumpers, missing them all, and seemed to get shaken by his sudden poor performance. At one point early in the 2nd he was 1-of-8 from the field while Toronto was on a 11-0 run, taking the lead. At that time, in 11 possessions the Heat shot 0-for-7 with 4 turnovers. By the time halftime rolled around, the Raptors had built up a 6-point lead.
Beasley's tough night continued as he turned the ball over twice in the first 2 minutes of the 3rd quarter. He would quickly come out of the game and would not return. The Toronto lead would get all the way up to 17 thanks to three 3-pointers from Andrea Bargnani, which sparked a 13-2 run. Miami was struggling to find an answer defensively, switching from man up D to their 2-3 zone that has been so successful of late.
The Heat got the lead down to 10 thanks to a 12-5 run which included 6 straight points by D-Wade to close out the 3rd quarter. They kept chipping away, getting the deficit down to 6 thanks to a 14-4 run, which included the 6 straight by Wade at the end of the 3rd combined with the Heat outscoring Toronto 8-4 over the first few minutes of the 4th.
The Raptors came right back and got the lead up to 11 with just over 6 minutes left in the game. D-Wade responded with a nice and-1 play, his 3rd or 4th of the night, and then a pair of Udonis J's got the Heat to within 4. This time, whenever Toronto made a bucket Miami quickly responded. For the 3rd time, the Wade-to-Udonis play worked to perfection, getting the Heat deficit down to just 2 at the ‘dos minutos' point.
Miami's run reached 13-2 when Udonis again would come through, this time with a beautiful runner to tie the game for the first time since it was 29 all. After UD came down with a tough rebound on the defensive end, it was Carlos Arroyo who would hit the clutch J, giving the Heat their first lead since there was 10 min left in the 2nd quarter.
The Heat's 4th quarter smothering defense continued and after Udonis came down with yet another huge rebound, it was Carlos Arroyo getting intentionally fouled with a chance to put Miami up by 4. Of course, he'd hit them both. Seriously, how can you not be loving the play of our starting point guard? Out of nowhere, this guy has become one of the vital pieces in the Heat's success puzzle.
After a pair of Jarret Jack free throws brought Toronto within 2, again it was Arroyo at the line with a chance to make it a two-possession game with 7.3 seconds left. The former FIU star drilled them both, making it 6 straight points for him. Jack would come back and nail a trey, making it a 1-point game with 1.4 left. It was déjà vu with Arroyo again at the foul line, again hitting both with ease.
A Dwyane Wade steal would seal the game for Miami, and what a comeback! After trailing by 17 mid-way through the 3rd quarter, it was the Heat finishing the game on a 42-22 run that gave them their biggest comeback of the season. For Toronto, it was another amazingly tough loss in a horrifying week for them. They now hold just a ½ game lead over Chicago for the 8th and final playoff spot, while the Heat now find themselves just 1 game (but 2 in the loss column) behind Milwaukee for 5th. Charlotte is still nipping right at the hells of Miami, just 1 game back.
On a night where Jermaine O'Neal wasn't available and Michael Beasley wasn't useful, it was Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony stepping up in a big way for the Heat. Joel did most of his damage in the 1st half, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 and collecting a career high 13 points. Udonis had a great first half, shooing 5-of-6 for 12 points, but he became a downright beast in the 4th quarter. He hit all five of his shots and came down with 4 of his 6 rebounds, 3 of which came in the final minutes of the game.
Another all-around great game for our leader, Dwyane Wade. He was making the Raptors D look silly at times; cutting in and out of players like they were practice cones. Nobody in the NBA is as good at driving with the ball through players like that then D-Wade is. He finished with 32 points and hit all but one of his 10 free throws. He came down with 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and 3 blocks.
- I can forgive Q being off from the outside if he is going to bring the inside game that he had last night. He made a couple very nice moves down low that led to nice layups, and he also grabbed 9 rebounds, his highest total in over 3 weeks.
- While Dwyane Wade's 6 turnovers are easily forgiven with the way he helped bring the Heat back, Michael Beasley's 4 turnovers are not. Not when you hit just 1-of-10 from the field and seemed to abandon driving with the ball after being unable to finish the first couple drives.
- Wade scored 30 or more points in 3 of the 4 games against Toronto this year.
- The Heat shot 10-of-13 in the 4th quarter, and in the final minute Erik Spoelstra made the offense-defense change with Quentin Richardson and Joel Anthony, something that he seemed to be hesitant to do earlier in the year.
- Jammal Magloire only played 6 minutes, but they were some hard nosed minutes that may have helped spark the Heat's dramatic comeback. The way he goes 110% and dives all over the floor despite rarely playing is a great example of how to treat every minute on the floor as if its your last, and the younger players should be taking note of that.
- This was Carlos Arroyo's 27th start of the season. The Heat is now 17-10 in those starts.
- For the first time this season Miami is 6 games over .500.
- In their last 2 games, the Heat has shot 44-of-49 from the charity stripe (89.5%).
The Heat now goes on another short 3-game road trip. They went a perfect 3-0 on their last road trip, and that should be the goal for them again this time. It starts on Wednesday in Detroit, then they play on back-to-back nights in Indiana and Minnesota. I realize that asking for another 3-0 trip is a bit much, but if they stay consistent there is no reason to think they wont beat their weaker opponents.