We almost saw this coming. The Heat faced their toughest opponent yet, and they were just too much for the Heat who were without 3 main contributors. The Rockets won the game 108-91. The Heat scored 55 points in the first half, but only 36 in the second half.
The first half saw the Rockets and Heat combine for 15 three-pointers (8 from Houston). Chris Bosh was limited to 11 minutes because he had two fouls, and the Heat were already short-handed without the services of Chris Andersen or Udonis Haslem. Josh McRoberts is still on a minutes restriction right now as well. The Rockets led at halftime by 2, but for most of the half, it was an impressive effort by the Heat. Harden and Howard both had 18 points at halftime (10 of Harden's from the line).
The second half saw the Heat tie the game quickly, but then let Houston go on a 9-0 run to take a bigger lead. They led by as many as 13 points. Cross-court passes, open threes, Dwight dunks and Harden scoring, it was all Houston for most of the quarter. Chalmers and Bosh led a small spark at the end of the quarter to keep it within 6 going to the final frame.
The fourth quarter saw the Heat just flirt with getting it close. They would fall behind and then get back within striking distance, 3-4 points, and then Houston would gash them again. Miami was within 4 points and then let the Rockets drain 10 points in a row. The Rockers held the Heat to 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Some of the better things from tonight saw really positive play from Heat center, Justin Hamilton. Hamilton was playing only in his 11th NBA game, and had the tough assignment to guard Dwight Howard much of the night, but he held his own, and also contributed well on offense. Hamilton had 9 points (3, 3-pointers) and 7 rebounds.
After being named Conference Player of the Week, Chris Bosh had 21 points and 8 rebounds. Dwyane Wade had 19 points but some of his sloppy play and poor defense helped in the Heat falling behind. He wasn't the only one. Also in double figures for the Heat was Luol Deng, Shawne Williams and Mario Chalmers.
Some of the not so good things included Norris Cole playing completely lost and out of sync. He didn't score in the 16 minutes he played. James Ennis and Josh McRoberts were also goose eggs on the scoring sheet. The Heat really struggled on defense covering shooters and being abused by Dwight Howard. The Rockets were just too much.
The Rockets just fueled off of James Harden, 25 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds and Dwight Howard's 26 points and 10 rebounds. But probably the most telling stat: the Rockets shot 17-37 from three-point land in this one. That's hard to overcome.
The Heat play the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night at 7:00 PM EST.