The Sacramento Kings had 14 points in the first four minutes of their game against the Miami Heat Friday night. By halftime, they had racked up 61. It was a disappointing, if not somewhat expected, lackadaisical defensive effort in a game against the second-worst team in the West. And Miami's offense was firing on all cylinders, which made for a spectacular viewing event. Ray Allen, for instance, dunked the ball twice for the first time since 2011, and James may have made an even better poster than the one he put David West on a couple nights ago.
But the Heat went back to basics in the third quarter, clamping down on defense and continuing to play unselfish, efficient offense. Sacramento scored just 42 points in the second half, and the Heat came away with a 122-103 win for Miami's 20th victory of the season.
Miami came up with three steals and numerous other deflections in the pivotal third period, igniting the offense. LeBron James gave two no-look rifle passes to Chris Bosh for easy buckets. Shane Battier -- who had not even attempted a 3-pointer in the Heat's last three games -- made two critical 3s, the last one increasing Miami's lead to 93-77 with 2:55 left in the quarter. The score was 72-71 just six minutes earlier. Dwyane Wade even made a 3 during the third. The only blemish for the Heat during the quarter was James' missed running layup in the closing seconds that would have given Miami 100 points in 36 minutes of action.
Bosh scored his team's first 12 points and finished with 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field and eight rebounds in 26 minutes of action. He started out the game driving right at DeMarcus Cousins for a layup and kept up the aggression. Five of James' eight assists went to Bosh field goals, which were just beautiful looks as Bosh found himself open rolling to the basket. On the flip side, both Bosh and Chris Andersen had their hands full with Cousins, who shot 11-of-15 from the field himself. One can only wonder when the Heat will begin to give playing time to Greg Oden, who was signed specifically to defend players like Cousins.
To go along with his eight assists, James scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field and six rebounds. His dunks and passes were nothing short of marvelous, but part of it also came from a nonexistent Kings defense. The Heat shot 61.4 percent from the field tonight -- Miami notched a franchise-high in that category Monday night against Utah at 63.4 percent. It's inexcusable for a team to let Allen dunk twice in a game, and both those instances came when the lane was wide open for him. At least Miami played better defense in the second half.
Another positive for Miami -- rebounding. The Heat won the battle of the boards 39-32, with Bosh looking particularly active. Wade added 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting, five assists and five boards. Allen scored 18 on 8-of-13 shooting, and Chalmers had 16 points, five assists and five boards.
The Heat face the three-seeded Atlanta Hawks Monday at 7:30 p.m.