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Heat outlast Nuggets 103-98, just 2 games back for #1 seed, Chalmers injured

  • The Heat wrapped up their toughest stretch of games this season of 11 games against teams with winning records. With the hard-fought 103-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets the Heat finished with a lackluster 5-6 record despite the fact that most of the games were at home. There's a reason why these teams are above .500 but the bigger issue beyond the losses is that they can look unstoppable at times and terrible at other times, even within the span of the same game. At times both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James can make convincing arguments for MVP consideration but with a subpar supporting cast they also tend to play a bit recklessly and as a result rack up turnovers and attempt overly-difficult shots.
  • This final victory moves the Heat just 2 games behind the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls for the top spot in the East. While the Celtics continue their up-and-down play since their puzzling late season roster shuffling, the Heat's schedule eases up considerably with the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavs, Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves, and New Jersey Nets next in line. If there's one thing they've proven they can do consistently this season is beat up on lesser teams.
  • Mario Chalmers was lost to a right knee injury in the first half and had to be carried off the floor. An MRI is scheduled for Sunday with more details to follow. I'll be covering today's Heat Family Festival and will pass along any updates on his condition and how much time he'll miss, if any.
  • Although the Heat were the better team Saturday night, they still allowed the Nuggets to hang around despite never holding a lead in the game. This was largely thanks to the Nuggets' depth, augmented by the Carmelo Anthony trade that bolstered their roster in every position. Point guard Raymond Felton sat out the game due to injury and they lost their starting shooting guard Arron Afflalo after he played just 9 minutes. But with Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin their starting forwards, the Nuggets got 50 points off their bench just from J.R. Smith and Danilo Gallinari. The Nuggets have so much depth at the forward spots that Al Harrington is the odd man out of the rotation.
  • With Chalmers out, Erik Spoelstra stuck with Mike Bibby, his only remaining point guard, and also gave ball-handling duties to Mike Miller, Wade and LeBron. Will that be enough while Mario is on the mend? If it weren't for Jamaal Magloire's surprising play as of late when given the opportunity, the Heat might be tempted to cut him for another point guard (Patrick Beverley, who knows the system already?). Udonis Haslem's health remains a mystery so Juwan Howard appears to be safe as well.
  • Miami showed resolve by holding the Nuggets at bay through the course of the game. Even when Denver got as close as one point in the second quarter, the Heat rattled off ten quick points in a row to restore their lead. The final scoring margin gives the appearance that this game was a nail biter down the stretch but the Big 3 along with Mike Bibby were able to consistently score when the Heat needed to create more distance from a Nuggets team that wouldn't give up.
  • With LeBron shooting the way he has the past couple of games along with Bosh and Wade providing steady production, it perhaps might be best to forget that the bench minus Bibby only produced 4 points, 3 of which came from Joel Anthony and none from Miller and James Jones. Hey, the Heat won right? Let's sweep that under the rug and worry about it for another day when they lose and we can nitpick all of their faults.