Dwyane Wade came into this game saying that it was the beginning of ‘must win' times for the Heat if they wanted to make sure of getting into the playoffs. He made sure that everybody knew he was being completely serious by coming out and scoring 35 big ones, leading his team by example to their first win in almost two weeks. Wade's dominance wasn't the only story for the Heat, as Erik Spoelstra made some changes to his rotation. Daequan Cook didn't get into the game, and Rafer Alston was benched after 7 minutes and two misses.
The Heat pick up right where they left off in Orlando, starting the game by missing their first 5 shots and turning the ball over twice. Michael Beasley changed that, hitting two straight shots and getting things going for the Heat. Unfortunately, it would be about 6 minutes before Beasley would touch the ball again offensively...which made absolutely no sense to me. If the kid has been struggling, why not keep his confidence growing when he gets off to a hot start?
The first quarter ended with 5-straight points by D-Wade, which brought the Heat within 1 of the Warriors. Wade finished the quarter with 12 points and 3 assists, but the Heat still gave up 34 points on 56% shooting to Golden State. The first thing to catch my eye in the 2nd quarter was Dorell Wright missing back-to-back wide open layups, capping an 0-for-7 start to the quarter by Miami.
The Heat went a long time in the 2nd quarter with both Mario Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo in the game, with the two PG lineup taking the minutes that have recently been going to Daequan Cook. Miami was able to escape the opening half with a slim 2-point lead, led by their superstar Dwyane Wade. He had 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4 dunks. The Heat also took much better care of the ball in the 2nd quarter, turning the ball over just once compared to 6 times in the 1st quarter.
A scary moment early in the 3rd quarter when D-Wade banged knees with Ronny Turiaf and hobbled off to the sideline. Thankfully he would be fine, and came right back with his 5th dunk of the game immediately after. Another interesting side-note, Carlos Arroyo started the 2nd half at the point for Miami. After playing 7 scoreless minutes to start the game, Rafer Alston seems to have fallen out of favor with Coach Spo, at least for this night.
The Heat used an 8-0 run late in the 3rd to take a 7-point lead, their biggest of the game. Until that point, there had been 15 lead changes and 13 ties. When the 3rd quarter closed, Dwyane Wade had already reached double double status, and was a mere 4 rebounds away from that elusive triple double. For the Heat, they held a late 11-point lead in the 3rd, but less then 4 minutes into the 4th quarter the Warriors had come all the way back to tie it up.
A few minutes later an Anthony Morrow triple would give Golden State the lead, but it was short lived. D-Wade would score to give the lead back to the Heat, then right after that assisted on a Q-Rich trey and just like that the Heat were back up by 4. The game would tighten back up, and after a pair of misses at the charity stripe by Jermaine O'Neal, Golden State had the ball down by just 2 with 9.0 seconds left. The Warriors would get the look they wanted, but the ball slipped right through the hands of Ronny Turiaf and into the arms of Carlos Arroyo. Carlito would sink both free throws and put the game away for good.
- Another double double for J-O. Ho hum....does anybody remember before the season started when we had no idea how this guy would play??
- ‘Only' 14 three pointers attempted by the Heat last night. Not too bad. Also gotta love the contributions from beyond by Q and Rio. They combined to shoot 4-for-7 from behind the three-point line.
- Q had his best game in a while, scoring 15 and grabbing 7 boards while hitting 6 of his 8 shots.
- The Heat's 31 1st half rebounds were a season-high for a half. They out-rebounded Golden State 31-16.
- Beasley had a decent game, but he disappeared for large stretches. The coaching staff really needs to figure out how to keep him involved. HE also hit a trey for the first time since February 4th. Good sign, mainly because he was also driving with the ball last night.
- The Heat scored a season-high 56 points in the paint.
A win is a win. Yes, it was against Golden State, but whatever. These guys needed to get something positive going and this is absolutely a step in the right direction. Next up is another easy one; the Lakers come to town tomorrow night. (And yes, that was sarcasm...)