D-Wade picked up where he left off in the Heat last game, scoring 8 straight points for the Heat early in the 1st. He and Q-Rich were lighting up the scoreboard early on; with Q drilling a pair of treys. The game went back and fourth for the entire opening quarter, with the Lakers escaping with a narrow 1-point lead. Wade scored 10, leading the Heat, but Miami shot around 40% while the Lakers were hitting on over 50%.
Early in the second quarter I was getting annoyed with Mario Chalmers, who more then once took a long jumper very early in the shot clock. That isn't what the Heat need to be doing, and Rio should know that. He tends to do much better when taking his time and sizing up the D. The 2nd quarter was much like the first, but the Lakers were out-playing the Heat in many areas. They were out-rebounding Miami by 8, shooting 50% from the field while Miami was shooting just 38%. The Heat did have 5 less turnovers then the Lakers, who had 10.
Michael Beasley matched his 1st half offensive output about a minute into the 2nd half with a nice 1-handed putback slam. Gotta love that jump from 2 points to 4 for Super Cool, who was T-ed up for taunting Pau Gasol after the nice dunk. Later in the quarter, Quentin Richardson electrified the crowd with back-to-back triples that gave the Heat their biggest lead of the game at 6.
Miami closed the 3rd on a 13-5 run, fueled by who else...Dwyane Wade. He either scored or assisted on the Heat's final five buckets of the quarter. The Heat continued to ride their energy wave into the 4th, stretching the lead at one point to 9. The Lakers responded with a couple buckets in a row, which seemed to stun the Heat. They got very tentative on offense, which prompted Wade's return from the bench for the stretch run.
A couple ‘questionable' calls that went against the Heat seemed to throw them...and suddenly a 7-point lead turned into a 10-2 Lakers run, giving them the lead with under a minute left. The Lakers then got the ball back and had a huge opportunity to stretch their lead. Instead, D-Wade would get a piece of Kobe Bryant's jumper, giving the Heat new life. Wade then did a great job dealing with the double team on the other end; he swung the ball around to Q, who nailed his 7th trey of the game putting the Heat up 2 with 11.1 left.
After an L.A. timeout, Kobe Bryant got the ball and in a seemingly effortless act, drove, stopped and drilled a mid-range J to tie the game at 99 with 3.3 seconds left. Miami had a chance to win it in regulation, and as you can guess the ball would go to Wade, but he got a terrible look at a crooked fadeaway and overtime would be the end result. It took Kobe scoring 12 straight points for L.A. between the 4th quarter and OT for Miami to figure out they needed to double up on him. Once that happened, Miami got a miss and a turnover from the Lakers and gained the scoring edge as overtime winded down.
D-Wade assisted on back-to-back buckets, keeping the Heat up by 2. On the Heat's previous defensive possession, Jermaine O'Neal had been called for a very questionable goaltend, but he quickly made up for it. J-O drew a charge on Kobe with 18 seconds left, sending L.A. into ‘foul the Heat' mode. A couple Arroyo free throws later, Miami would go up 4 and that would be that. The Heat was great in overtime, hitting 4-of-4 from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line. Defensively, as soon as they started sending Udonis to help double team Kobe Bryant, the Lakers offense stalled.
- For the second time this season, Carlos Arroyo took the job of a Heat starting PG. This time it was Rafer Alston, who was sent to the bottom of the point guard depth chart behind Arroyo and Mario Chalmers.
- Arroyo started the game off on the right foot, assisting on the Heat's first two buckets. He went on to score a season-high 17 points on just 6-of-7 shooting, with 3 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. 11 of his 17 points came in the 4th quarter and OT, as did 3 of his 5 assists. (Yes, that means that he had no assists in the 2nd and 3rd quarters).
- 7 triples for Q-Rich?! Not only did he hit 7, but a few of them were downright clutch. It was the 2nd time this season that Q hit 7 from beyond the arc. He also has a game where he hit 6 triples, and has hit 5 in a game twice.
- In the 1st half, the Heat hit on just 16-of-42 from the field (38%). In the 2nd half and overtime, Miami hit 26-of-38 of their shots (68%). What exactly did they drink during halftime...?
- After recording his first game without a turnover in more then two weeks against Golden State, Dorell Wright had a couple ‘careless with the ball' moments against the Lakers. Overall he is usually solid handling the ball but there is still some work to be done on offensive court awareness.
- Miami's free throw shooting was stellar against the Lakers. Not only was their percentage high (84%), but they did that while taking 25 attempts. That's 56 foul shots in the last two games for Miami, a very good sign. God only knows the last time the Heat hit 21 free throws in consecutive games.
- D-Wade and Udonis were the double double boys against the L.A. Wade finished with 27 points and 14 assists while Udonis scored 12 and grabbed 11 boards. Both players stepped up when it counted; Wade scored 11 and dished out 3 assists in the 4th quarter and OT, while Udonis scored 8 and grabbed 3 boards during that time.
- Haslem once again got all the meaningful minutes over Michael Beasley, who didn't come off the bench in the 4th quarter for the 3rd straight game. Beasley finished with 6 points on 3-of-7 shooting.
- Some credit has to go to Jermaine O'Neal, who played 41 very rough and tough minutes against the Lakers big lineup. He scored 4 of his 13 points in OT, and while the box score may not show it, he worked his ass off last night.
- There were an NBA season-high 31 lead changes in this game, with the last one going the way of the home squad. A very exciting game filled with lots of positives for Miami, and it came in front of a packed house at the AAA and a National television audience watching on TNT.
So yeah...the Heat continue their trend of playing up/down to their opponent. On this night, that worked in their favor as they went toe-to-toe with the best in the West...and won. Just like the first time these teams met, this one was an exciting matchup of two of the best players in the NBA. Enjoy this one, Heat fans. After barely beating the D-league filled Warriors, the Heat came right back with one of the best full-game efforts of the season.