The Miami Heat played their first preseason game Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, an affair held in the neutral site of Louisville, Kentucky. Unfortunately, there was no televised broadcast of the game so the following "recap" will be a series of nonsensical tweets, images and random observations. Imagine one of those 5,000-piece puzzles of kittens playing with balls of yarn where ever piece looks like it's taken from the exact same color palette. This is your recap, Heat fans.
We start off the game with a simple, inspirational speech by Chris Bosh, the highest-paid player on the roster. With great money comes great responsibility, including having to inspire the troops prior to a meaningless game. The following video, via the team's Instagram account:
"Do what you're supposed to do and play together."
We also learned that Josh McRoberts, Justin Hamilton and Chris Andersen all sat out the game, as they did the "Red, White & Pink" scrimmage that took place earlier this week:
Josh McRoberts (toe), Birdman (toe) and Justin Hamilton (heart procedure) out for Heat. Hamilton is in Louisville with the team.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 4, 2014
The starting lineup consisted of Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem (in place of McRoberts). Once the game started, it was a herculean task for yours truly to try to figure out what was happening. Clearly, Anthony Davis is a pretty good basketball player:
Bosh finding the early going very, very rough against Anthony Davis, with two of his shots blocked already.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 4, 2014
Also, the Heat were down early in the first quarter, trailing 8-7. Haslem picked up two quick fouls and Shawne Williams, the unexpected offensive boost during this week's scrimmage, was the first substitute off the bench, Presumably, Wade came out of the game shortly afterward (again, I couldn't see anything and the radio broadcast didn't work either):
Chalmers as backup shooting guard? That's the case early, as Cole enters for Wade.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 4, 2014
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra went deep into the bench while still in the first quarter, bringing in James Ennis and Danny Granger to play alongside Bosh, Chalmers and Williams. Apparently, the Pelicans' Davis was still decent at basketball:
Anthony Davis seemingly has blocked every Heat shot that has not gone in to this point.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 5, 2014
But Granger seemingly found his groove from outside, according to our own Surya Fernandez:
Danny Granger checks in and quickly nails the Heat's first three-pointer of the game.— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
Rookie Khem Birch also saw some minutes early in the game and, thanks to Granger and Ennis, the Heat took a 18-16 lead to close out the period.
By this point, I was torn between following my Twitter feed for highlights and watching the University of Miami face Georgia Tech on ESPN2. As can be expected, televised events are far easier to follow than non-televised ones.
It seems the Pelicans came back with some hot shooting (and Georgia Tech just tied it up, 14-14):
Pelicans hit their sixth 3-pointer of the game to go up 3 against the Heat deep into the second quarter.— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
Apparently, somebody named Luke Babbitt has really terrible hair:
Luke Babbitt, Andrei Kirilenko called and wants his hair back.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 5, 2014
There haven't been any updates in a while. Perhaps the game ended early??? No such luck. Meanwhile, UM is marching after converting a huge 4th down and 1 deep in their own territory. Following two games at once is fun! Finally an update...
Pelicans lead the Heat 42-35 with less than three minutes left in the first half. Heat only have one 3-pointer via Granger.— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
Who the hell is Patric Young and why is outplaying our best player (who apparently shot 1-10 in the first half)?
No, not a good night for Chris Bosh. Patric Young got the best of him defensively on that last set.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 5, 2014
The first half ends and Miami is down 44-35. Here are the lowlights. Ugh.
Chris Bosh 1 of 10, Luol Deng 1 of 5, Dwyane Wade 2 of 6 at half against Pelicans.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 5, 2014
And UM has just thrown an interception. Double ugh.
Both games are at halftime, giving me enough opportunity to have another beer, walk the dog and watch highlights of other college football games. The blogging life is a glamorous one, people. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
But wait! The Heat game has started again and Spoelstra has decided to go with Williams instead of Haslem to start the 3rd quarter. And the move pays off, apparently. In virtually no time at all, the Heat cut the lead to 4 (now down 49-45) after Williams scored in transition, forcing the Pelicans to take a time out with 8:40 left in the 3rd quarter. This is just like being at the game! You can practically smell the hot dogs and stale beer stains on the paved concrete floor!
Chris Bosh has just hit Miami's second 3-pointer of the night but no indication of the score. Regardless, it's evident that our best players have been struggling all game long and Bosh, in particular, has probably been limited by Davis, whom many consider to be a possible dark horse in the MVP race.
Never mind! An update in the score tells us Miami is only down 4, and is trailing the Pelicans 55-51 with just over four minutes left to go in the 3rd quarter. Spoelstra has brought Cole off the bench alongside Chalmers, so this two-point-guard set (which was used in spots last season as well) does not include Shabazz Napier. The rookie played well during this week's scrimmage, running the floor with confidence and playing great on-ball defense; his shooting has been suspect, however. He has yet to play in the game versus New Orleans.
And we have our first yell-at-Chalmers incident of this young season! The more things change...
Bosh now trying to set things straight with Chalmers during a timeout. Clearly there are some other LeBron shoes that need to be filled.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 5, 2014
Apparently, Miami fell quickly behind by 11 but a 3-pointer by Ennis cut the lead to single-digits. And we'll just have to take Ira Winderman's statement as fact, considering we can't see the game:
Cole again playing well as spark off bench.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 5, 2014
But as Miami prepares to start the fourth quarter, they still trail, 67-61.
The last quarter begins (admit it, you're going to miss this excellent recap when it's over...) with a lineup featuring Birch, Cole, Ennis, Granger and Shawn Jones. Somehow, they cut the lead to 4. Ennis has managed to rack up 11 points, so far. I get the feeling he's going to be a real solid contributor for this team. Clearly, the starting unit needs to play better than they did tonight but depth has been widely questioned as a weakness for this team. That does not appear to be the case, especially if Granger can stay healthy and Williams continues to produce.
The University of Miami just fell apart during a goal-line stance, by the way, and gave up an easy touchdown to GT. The score stands at 21-14.
(On a totally random note, I happened to get a tweet about the new television show on Starz cable network called "Survivor's Remorse." In case you haven't heard, it's a semi-autobiographical shows based on the experiences of a former Heat player who now plays in Cleveland. I get the feeling ratings will be lower in South Florida than elsewhere across the country...thoughts???)
Williams and Granger now lead the Heat with 12 points apiece. Also, Napier has just been inserted into the game. Let's "see" what he can do in the game's waning moments...
The starters all were taken out with just over 7 minutes left to play and Miami down 85-76. Napier could be the "white flag" on tonight's game.
Or is it???
Napier quickly hits his first shot to cut the Pelicans lead to 9.— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
No updates in a few minutes which means either that the game has gotten out of hand or that Napier has led a comeback in dramatic fashion! I'm willing to bet it's the latter but I'll just have to wait...
In the meantime, the Canes are struggling to score in the closing minutes of the third quarter, but a field goal just closed the gap to 4. Defense needs to come up huge...
Yeah, seriously no updates in several minutes (even if it only took you mere seconds to read the preceding lines). But then this happened...
Shabazz Napier and Shannon Brown make up the Heat backcourt with four minutes left. Remember, this is preseason basketball.— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
OK. Heat are down 7 with 2:45 left in the game. Plenty of time. If I can be honest here (as if I've been anything but, so far), following these tweets for regular updates kind of makes a game that should be completely meaningless have some slight meaning. I'm actually curious to see if this team can mount a comeback with nothing but reserves on the floor...after all, a win is a win.
A dunk by Ennis brings his point total to 17 but Miami still trails by 7 with just over 2 minutes to play. A Pelicans shot put them up by 12 but Napier just hit a 3-pointer (and has a total of 5 points). Good for him.
Somehow (damn you, Twitter updates!) Pelicans have climbed up to 12 and this game looks like it's over. Hopes are dashed...
...and then I remember it's a preseason game and it doesn't matter one bit who wins this.
Ahhhhh....Ennis missed free throws in closing seconds and Napier turned it over. Welp.
Pelicans defeat the Heat 98-86— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
Here are some numbers, news and notes for the game:
43% FG shooting for the Heat, Pelicans 46%— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
Three-point shooting: Heat - 5/15, Pelicans - 14/32 44% (yes 32 attempts)— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
Of the Heat players that dressed for the game only Andre Dawkins, Tyler Johnson, and Reggie Williams did not play.— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) October 5, 2014
Well, this has been exciting for me but you'll likely never want me to handle another recap for this site. In truth, this would've been very different with the benefit of television to keep me update.
Stay tuned for more analysis, probably from someone more capable than I am at this point on a Saturday night.