Using one of the more random starting lineups that any of us could have expected, the Miami Heat closed out their regular season with a very nice win over the Toronto Raptors last night. Mike Bibby and Eddie House were the Heat's starting backcourt and then James Jones, Joel Anthony and Zydrunas Ilgauskas rounded out the starting 5 for Miami.
Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh all stayed on the bench, as did Mike Miller, and got to watch all of the Heat's role players put a nice little beating on the lowly Raptors. Erik Spoelstra has said all season that every member of the team works equally hard and is always ready to go, regardless of their role, and that really showed in last night's win.
Leading the charge for Miami was Eddie House, who was absolutely on fire and ended up having a career night. His previous career high was 31 points, a mark set back in November of 2005, but he put a big fat 35 on the board last night by shooting the lights out at the Air Canada Centre. In typical Eddie House fashion, he put up 27 shots and made 14 of them, going an impressive 7-for-13 from downtown.
House started his rampage in the 1st quarter. With Miami trailing 17-15 with and over 3 minutes left, Eddie outscored the Raptors 14-3 to give the Heat a nice 9-point lead heading into the 2nd. Mario Chalmers assisted on 5 of the 6 shots that House made at the end of that quarter, which was a sign of things to come for both players.
Toronto kept things close during the 2nd and 3rd quarters before the Heat decided to take things over in the 4th quarter and completely dominate the Raptors to take home the victory. Miami trailed 69-67 late in the 3rd quarter before going on a 20-2 run that gave them a 16-point lead with just under 5 minutes left in the game.
The Heat held Toronto to just 10 points on 3-of-16 shooting in the 4th quarter, forcing 6 of the Raptors 17 turnovers. It was a great way for the Heat reserve players to close out the regular season, with a convincing win that showed the rest of the NBA that Miami's non-Big 3 players could still make a difference. Sure, it was against a depleted Raptors team, but they still showed that they can play when called upon.
- With all his shooting and scoring, Eddie House took no free throws, collected no rebounds, steals or blocks and had just 1 assist.
- The Heat closed out the season winning 15 of their last 18 games.
- This was the 35th time that Miami won by double figures.
- Jamaal Magloire grabbed a Heat season-high 19 rebounds in just 29 minutes.
- The last time Magloire had a 15-rebound game was April 14th, 2007.
- James Jones went 4-of-6 from downtown but 0-for-5 from inside the 3-point line. It was only the 2nd time he'd hit 4 or more shots from beyond the arc since late January.
- As a team, Miami shot 13-of-26 (50%) from 3-point range.
- The Heat finished the season with 28 road wins, tied for best in the league with Dallas.
- Mario Chalmers finished the game with 13 assists, the first time this season he hit double figures in the category.
The Heat now get a few days off before kicking off the 2011 NBA Playoffs this weekend. They'll host the Philadelphia 76ers at the AAA on Saturday at 3:30.