[caption id="attachment_3734" align="aligncenter" width="399" caption="Wade up-and-under scoop"][/caption]The Miami Heat started their New Year with the spirit of giving – points, that is. As we’ve sporadically witnessed earlier this season, the Heat once again looked lethargic in the first half only to flip the script and overwhelm the opponent in the second. The tale of two halves: 1st Half – Warriors Shoots Lights Out Possibly suffering from remnants of a late night to celebrate 2011, Miami seemed unusually slow in their defense, especially in their rotations. Oppositely, the offense wasn’t abysmal. Miami fittingly attacked the paint and made the necessary passes to get easy shots -- not a difficult task against a team not known for their deterrence of points. This includes LeBron James filling in the void left by an injured Rajon Rondo for behind-the-back pass fakes: It was a combination of lackadaisical defense and the Warriors firepower that put the Heat in a 28-36 deficit at the end of the first. Ex-Heat Dorell Wright had half of his new team’s points with 14 and the Warriors lived up to their spot in 3pt shooting rankings by shooting 6-of-7 from long range. Of course, to add insult to injury, Monta Ellis would drain a half court heave at the buzzer to put the Warriors up by 14. Hoping for change early was a lost cause with the 2nd quarter being no different. Miami continued their methodical dismantle of any defensive stance thrown at them but were largely outscored by the steaming Warriors. Chris Bosh continued his consistent performance with an array of shots and drives on the height-challenged Warriors to amass 17 points in the half. En route to his additions, Chris was called for a technical after fiercely dunking on Louis Admundson and sticking his tongue out while growling. It would usually be called emotion, but Bosh was looking straight at his victim giving the referees a reason to whistle him for taunting. Unfortunately, the same fierceness did not carry to the defensive side. Dorell Wright (8-10 FG, 4-5 3pt FG) and Monta Ellis combined for 36 points and the Warriors finished the second half breaking the Heat’s record for most points allowed in a half, field goal % and 3pt field goals made by an opponent. The defensively comatose Heat would be outscored 28-18 in the paint. 1st half stats: Warriors – 72 points (season-high allowed by Heat), +14, 63.6 FG% (10-16 3pt FG), 2 TO Heat – 58 points, -14, 52.0 FG% (6-10 3pt FG), 5 TO 2nd Half – Stifling Defense Revived After what was likely a candid speech from coach Spoelstra and maybe a few Four Lokos, the second half was dramatically different. The Heat permanently pressed the Turbo button and exhausted the Warrior’s fire with lock down defense and most notably, hastily closing out on the shooters that killed them in the first half. After a 16-1 run to start the third quarter, Warriors were able to nail a few contested shots to keep up with the incoming assault. Miami finished the quarter holding the Warriors to 12 points (0 in the paint), going into the 4th quarter trailing 83-84. It was a typical finale for the Heat. Coach Erick Spoelstra entered the quarter with a defensively-oriented squad featuring Joel Anthony in the middle and the game closer of late Mario Chalmers alongside Wade, Jones and Bosh. LeBron entered the game shortly after to join Wade, and each scored 9 of their 25 points in the fourth while assisting to teammates as necessary. A 31-23 quarter would complete the Heat’s comeback to come away with a 114-107 victory. 2nd Half Stats: Warriors – 35 points, -21, 30.2 FG% (3-11 3pt), 10 TO Heat- 56 points, +21, 45.45% FG% (3-11 3pt), 9 TO Game Notes:
- Tonight’s match marked the 9th time the Big Three score +20 points each, with James and Wade finishing with 25 points and Bosh with 20 points. The Heat are 8-1 in such balanced games.
- The Miami Heat have become the first team in NBA history to record 10-straight road wins during a single calendar month.
- After a 4 game winning streak of keeping the opponent under 100 points, the Heat have failed to meet their defensive goal allowing the Knicks, Rockets and now Warriors to pass their ideal mark.
- Miami have gone 18-2 since their 3 game losing streak mid-November. Both losses in that span were succumbed to the 2006 Finals opponent Dallas Mavericks.
- The season record for lowest points allowed by the Heat this season is 77 points against the Pacers, 5 more than the Heat allowed in the first half.
- With tonight’s victory, Miami inches closer to being atop the Eastern Conference, .031% under the Celtics.