In a game filled with high intensity action and way too many free throw attempts, the Miami Heat should be proud of the 107-102 win against the Toronto Raptors.
Dwyane Wade came out hot very early scoring eight points in the first quarter looking to make up for his poor shooting night yesterday in Philadelphia. With Birdman and Udonis Haslem out, Heat reserves found minutes in the rotation and generally played very well. Justin "Ham" Hamilton was impressive especially after having gone through so much leading up to training camp. Shabazz Napier also saw floor time and contributed in key possessions. Nevertheless, it was Shawne Willaims who delivered consistently from beyond the arc to help keep Miami afloat.
While the rookies and reserves were very good it was through the offensive talents of both Chris Bosh and Luol Deng that Miami was able to maintain a consistent ten-point lead for much of the game and allow them to go into halftime with a 16 point lead. The Heat looked almost unstoppable in the third quarter where they went on offensive tear while simultaneously limiting offensive possessions for Toronto.
Nevertheless, things appeared sloppy in the fourth quarter and through missed free throws and poor decision making Miami let Toronto slip back into the game. Regardless, they were able to close out in the final seconds and deliver Toronto's 17th straight defeat in South Beach.
- Assists: Miami had 22 assists compared to the Raptor's 11. Miami's ball movement is the best it's been in a long time and has resulted in many easy buckets for the Heat. I expect this trend to continue, especially since Wade has found rhythm in being a facilitator on offence.
- Rebounding: Miami had 43 rebounds to Toronto's 28. On a team where we've struggled with rebounds for four years, it's nice to see that part of the team finally coming together.
- Dwyane Wade: Wade flirted with a triple double for much of this contest, and appeared extremely healthy. He was up this usual tricks and displayed much improvement in his jump shooting even banking in a three in the third quarter. It's great to see Wade responding to criticism through elite play, especially on the second night of a back to back.
- Chris Bosh: Bosh was incredible delivering a double double through a stat line of 21 points and 11 rebounds. He was also extremely solid from the free throw line (10-13), despite missing some key shots near the end. This is expected from Chris Bosh and I wouldn't be surprised if he goes on a double double tear in the coming months.
- Luol Deng: The silent killer managed to put together an impressive stat line of 18 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds to help Miami secure the win. Luol Deng's play was extremely impressive, and the amount of hustle displayed should give Heat fans a preview of what he's capable in this offence.
- Norris Cole: Norris Cole had trouble shooting in this contest, scoring only 5 points of 2-5 field goals. This is hopefully just a bump in the road for Cole especially with Napier playing exceptionally well in the rotation.
- Fouls: Toronto shot 38 free throws in this game. Fortunately they didn't score very many, but nevertheless the Heat were called on countless reaches and sloppy defense. That needs to change now.
- Three point defense: Miami was awful at guarding the three point shot. Luckily Toronto was only able to hit 4 of 16 threes attempted as the Heat looked like an NBA 2k team, biting on every fake. Hopefully this is addressed by the coaching staff.
- Fourth quarter free throws: The Heat split the pair so often in the fourth quarter that it almost cost them the game. While Heat fans are used to Dwyane Wade sometimes struggling from the charity stripe, Luol Deng missing huge shots didn't help my stress level. Miami can't afford to let this continue moving forwards.
- Mario Chalmers: Chalmers scored 12 points before fouling out of the game. Though he contributed one key foul to stop a three man fast break, it's not confirmed if he intended to do so.
- Josh McRoberts ripped his shirt off