Yes, the Clippers game was bigger in terms of star power and drew a national audience, but this game against the Orlando Magic meant more because it was a divisional rival in a conference where every loss and win will affect you down the road when its playoff time.
Now let look at some players.
Mario Chalmers [24 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds]
Dwyane Wade can sit as long as he wants if this is the Chalmers we're going to get. Mario isn't elite. He won't get recognized on the national level for his efforts this year as long as the Heat float around .500 like this. But none of that changes the fact we've got one hell of a player on our team. This is the guy that failed in the 2013 Finals. The guy that gets the brute of harsh words from Chris Bosh and Wade. Now look at him. Miss or make this guy is relentless to the basket.
Chris Bosh [32 points, 10 rebounds]
Finally Bosh is out of his funk, and he came up big in the clutch to prove it. Now Bosh didn't do well on the floor defensively against Nikola Vucevic. That guy, along with just about every other center in the NBA will have a field day against our interior defense but Bosh still had the better game even if his production didn't necessarily say so.
Shabazz Napier [12 points]
With Norris Cole out, the Heat needed Napier more than ever and he came through with 12 points and also showed toughness against Victor Oladipo.
Chris Andersen [5 points]
There was a time where Birdman was the most active player on the team, feeding off energy and playing alongside LeBron James. Right now it looks like an actual 36 year old facing 36 year old struggles. Might be time for Udonis to get more playing time.
Shannon Brown [7 points]
I've been critical of Shannon Brown for a while now. Last night he put me in my place. Constant energy throughout the game and became a great compliment to Rio in the back court.
Practiced and got a sweat before the game. He may return before Derrick Rose. But do you want to put Rio back on the bench with the way things are going?
Lance Stephenson and the Charlotte Hornets come to town Sunday night to complete yet another back-to-back set. See you after the game.