Before the game even started, it seemed like to was going to be one of those nights. Not because of the opponent, but because of who the Heat had available. No Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng or Josh McRoberts. The Heat would be shorthanded, on the back side of a back-to-back and on the road -- not a great combination.
And we saw them play very rugged, out of sync and bad in the first half. They shot only 37% and scored only 38 points. But they were not out of the game, trailing by only 5 points to the Brooklyn Nets.
The real story starts in the second half when the Heat out scored the Nets 32-21. Miami turned it on fast. Led mostly by their points guards. Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Shabazz Napier led the Heat to that lead. Napier had a career-high 11 points, Cole had 12 points, and Chalmers led the Heat with a game-high 22 points.
Napier said after the game that they just talked more on defense than they usually do. Maybe that's something they need to get used to. Napier said the team is naturally quiet, but the way the Heat have been carved up, efforts like this need to continue. The Heat showed great mental toughness in this win.
Miami won the game 95-83.
Down the stretch, it was the Heat's reserve guard Mario Chalmers who led the Heat. Chris Bosh was sidelined with 8 minutes because he picked up his fifth foul. So without the rest of the crew, it was up to Chalmers to led them and he did. He got to the free throw line a career high 13 times in this game, making 11 of them. Chalmers only played 34 minutes but it felt like he was always there.
Bosh ended the game with 15 points and 9 rebounds after a slow start. James Ennis played 36 minutes and had 10 points including 2 fast break dunks. Shawne Williams hot shooting came to an end in this game, but it was also the beginning for Danny Granger. Granger made his season debut for the Heat in this game as he started in place of Luol Deng. Granger had 4 points in 20 minutes.
The Heat were fortunate that no one on Brooklyn was really on for the night. Joe Johnson had only 6 points, and Deron Williams only had 1 field goal after the first quarter. Brook Lopez only played 22 minutes, and Mason Plumlee didn't have any blocks at the rim. Jarrett Jack created some problems off the bench, but the Heat really played a great game all things considered.
The Heat now have 2 days off before hosting the L.A. Clippers on Thursday night in Miami.