After starting the game with back-to-back turnovers on their first 2 offensive possessions, it was Mike Beasley who started the scoring for Miami with a nice pullup jumper. Shortly after that, Joel Anthony recorded his first blocked shot of the game by running down Jonas Jerebko from behind and blocking what should have been an easy 2 points for the Pistons. You just gotta love the effort that Joel gives night in and night out, and those of you who have been following the Heat closely every year know how much this guy has improved over the past three seasons.
Michael Beasley started the game 2-for-2 from the field, but both were jumpers. In fact, the first 4 times he touched the ball he put up a mid-to-long range jumper. Meanwhile, the Pistons got off to a quick start hitting on 8 of their first 10 shots en route to an early 19-9 lead. It helped that the Heat turned the ball over 6 times in the first 6 minutes. Miami would bounce back and it was Super Cool doing some of the hard work. He made 2 straight nice plays where he got the ball into the paint and scored. That combined with a couple treys by Rio and Q had the Heat on a 12-2 run that tied the game at 21.
After the Heat failed to get to the charity stripe in the 1st quarter, it was Super Cool getting to the line less then a minute into the 2nd by being aggressive. He followed it up with his 61st dunk of the year, a wide-open right-handed slamma jamma. For the first time in a while, Beasley was acting like a ‘first option' with Wade out of the game, something that is much needed with Jermaine O'Neal sidelined. The 2nd unit was playing amazing, going on an 17-2 run and putting the Heat up by 13. Overall it was a 35-12 run for the Heat since they trailed by 10 half way through the 1st.
Dorell Wright had a huge 2nd quarter, scoring 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting (including 3 triples) off the bench, and the Heat took a nice 9-point lead into the half. Miami came out on fire in the 2nd half, hitting their first 3 triples (Arroyo and Q times 2) and stretching their lead to 16, their largest of the game. Super Cool extended the lead with his 2nd dunk of the game, a nice offensive board that he caught in mid-air and slammed.
Miami seemed to lighten up at the end of the quarter, giving up 5 straight 2nd chance points to Detroit, allowing them to close the lead to 10. Stupid fouls were plaguing the Heat, and with Detroit in the bonus they were essentially giving the Pistons free points. Just as quick as they lapsed, Miami got their stuff together very quickly. Within the first 2 minutes of the 4th quarter the Heat were up by 20.
The lead would stay around 20 for the rest of the quarter, a quarter that the Heat were in control of from start to finish despite having D-Wade on the bench the entire time. Wade had a rough shooting game (4-of-13 in just 28 minutes) but his teammates certainly picked up the slack. Miami finished the game with Daequan Cook and Yakhouba Diawara on the floor (true garbage time, but it was nice to see Kooba in uniform), but Beasley was still pushing hard.
Beas did a great job of mixing up his offensive game. He started off taking a few jumpers, which had many fans, myself included, worried about another passive waste of a game. Instead, he was aggressive more times then not, he attacked the glass the way he did at the beginning of the season, and he seemed to embrace bring the ‘first option' when D-Wade was on the bench. An absolute joy to see Super Cool playing so well, and now all we can do is keep our fingers crossed that he builds on this wonderful performance.
- With Wade having an off night, it was a great opportunity for other guys to shine. One of those guys was Quentin Richardson, who started out 4-of-4 from beyond the arc and finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds. He also had a pair of assists and drew a charge.
- Congrats are in order for Quentin. He lead the NBA in 3-pointers for the month of March with 42, beating out Jason Richardson (41), Stephen Curry and Manu Ginobili (40) and Danny Granger (39)
- Also picking up the slack was Dorell Wright. Despite all of the off-court ‘bs' surrounding D-Wright, he came out and had one of his best games in over a month. It started with a 12 point 2nd quarter and like Quentin, Dorell ended up hitting 4 triples and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the foul line. He finished with 17 points in just 22 minutes.
- When the Heat hit the 50-point mark late in the 2nd quarter, Dwyane Wade had just 2 points on 1-of-7 shooting and 2 assists.
- Dwyane did come up with a pair of steals, extending his streak of games with at least 1 steal to an NBA long 16.
- Miami connected on 57% of their 3-pointers (12-of-21) and 82.4 from the foul line (14-of-17)
- While he didn't have a huge impact on the box score, Joel Anthony again played a solid game on both ends of the court. The heat is now 9-3 in his 12 starts this season.
- Super Cool came up just 1 rebound shy of his first double double since mid-February. Still, he hit 11-of-22 from the field and had 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. He also turned the ball over just twice and played 39 minutes, his most in 16 games. It was also the 21st time this season that Beasley topped the 20-point mark. I definitely jinxed him by dropping him from my fantasy team a couple days ago.
- Speaking of double doubles, Udonis Haslem had another one; his 2nd in the last 3 games and 5th in the month of March. He finished with 10 and 10, with 4 boards coming on the offensive glass.
- I can't not mention Carlos Arroyo. He finished with 8 points on just 3-of-5 shooting, hitting both of his 3-point attempts. He also finished with 8 assists for the 2nd straight game. Arroyo has been the man since the beginning of March, playing over 30 minutes in all but 2 of the Heat's 15 games. Also, the Heat improved to 18-10 in games Arroyo starts.
In the ‘standings watch', Charlotte kept pace with the Heat by beating the Sixers at home. They trail Miami by 1½ games for 6th place. Milwaukee wasn't so lucky though. They went into Cleveland and gave the Cavs a hell of a run, but couldn't finish them off. The Heat is now just a half game behind the Bucks for 5th place; they have the same amount of wins but Milwaukee has one less loss then the Heat.
Well Heat fans, you just watched your team complete another great month of March. For the 5th time in franchise history, Miami won 12 games in March...essentially ‘marching' towards the playoffs. The last time they did it was the year we won the title. The Heat will now take their 6-game win streak into Indiana. While the Pacers have a pretty bad record (28-47), they have been playing well of late. Indiana has won 8 in a row at Conseco Fieldhouse and 7 of 9 overall.