So LeBron James is gone, and Miami's new #1 (Dwyane Wade), 2 (Chris Bosh), and 4 (Josh McRoberts) options are layed up with injuries. The HEAT sits three games below .500 for the first time in four and a half years, and have lost five-in-a-row at home. How do they respond?
Miami put a little distance between the seventh and eighth spots in the Eastern Conference by defeating the Boston Celtics on home ground by 16 points. This article focuses on the GameScore metric, available at www.basketball-reference.com.
First Star (tie)
Luol Deng (MIA) 17.7
Deng totaled a game-high 23 points for the HEAT on nine-of-15 shooting, making all four of his free throw attempts and half of his two three-point shots. He added three rebounds, two steals, and an assist in his 36:24 on the floor, with a game-high tying plus-14 rating and two turnovers as Miami's starting power forward. He played every minute of the third quarter, scoring 10 points.
The one thing we did when we got the lead is we never really let them get back to make it a close game. - Deng
First Star (tie)
Tyler Zeller (BOS) 17.7
Zeller led Boston with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting, playing only 24:30 as the Celtics starting center. He sunk two-of-three foul shots, grabbed five offensive and eight total rebounds and blocked two shots. He finished the contest with a minus-11 rating, with three fouls and two turnovers. Like Deng, Zeller's third quarter was pretty good. He made six-of-eight shots for a game-high 13 points.
They made a lot of big shots - kind of deflating shots. We did a good job trying to push back. We just have to get over that hump and tie the game or (go) ahead. - Zeller
James Ennis played 26:27 for the Heat off the bench. He scored 16 points with eight rebounds and a steal, making four-of-eight overall and two-of-three from outside, along with all six of his free throw attempts. He earned a plus-10 rating, was called for three fouls and turned the ball over once. Ennis' big quarter was the fourth, where he played every minute. He scored 10 points, including both of his three pointers, with five rebounds in the final frame.
Norris Cole (MIA) 12.0
Norris Cole slid over to shooting guard for the Heat, starting the game and leading all players with 37:26 on the floor. He scored 15 points on seven-of-13 shooting, earning a game-high-tying plus-14 rating. He missed both of his three-point attempts and made one-of-two from the line, with four rebounds, four assists, and a blocked shot. He committed one foul and turned the ball over a single time.
Udonis Haslem (MIA) 10.6
Haslem plays his way into the five stars for the second game in a row with 10 points and six rebounds off the bench in 25:05. He made three-of-four from the field and four-of-four from the stripe, with two assists, a turnover and one personal foul. He earned a plus-3 rating on the night, scoring all of his points and half of his rebounds in the first half.
Mario Chalmers (MIA) 8.9
Jeff Green (BOS) 8.2
Chris Andersen (MIA) 7.7
Shawne Williams (MIA) 7.6
Kelly Olynyk (BOS) 6.9
Evan Turner (BOS) 5.6
Brandon Bass (BOS) 5.4
Brandan Wright (BOS) 4.4
Jared Sullinger (BOS) 4.0
Danny Granger (MIA) 3.5
Marcus Smart (BOS) 2.8
Avery Bradley (BOS) 2.3
Jameer Nelson (BOS) 0.5
Jae Crowder (BOS) 0.3
Justin Hamilton (MIA) -0.7
- I wanted to give Mario Chalmers the fifth star instead of Udonis, but had to stay within the framework of this series. Rio earned the only double-double of the night with 11 points and 10 assists as Miami's starting point guard.
- Avery Bradley had very little to write home about, other than collecting seven rebounds from the guard position. He hit only two-of-10 shots for four points, with a game-worst minus-14 rating.
- Jameer Nelson's only made field goal was a three point shot. Unfortunately for him, it came on six tries. He also turned the ball over twice and was whistled for two personal fouls in just over 20 minutes. He did kick out three assists in his time on the floor.
- The only thing jumping out of the box score at me is the combined three-point success rate of both teams. Miami and Boston combined to hit 12-of-44 from outside, with Miami (28.6%) marginally outshooting Boston (26.1%).