For the first time in a long time, the Miami Heat have won consecutive games. After spending back-to-back games at the Staples Center, the Heat beat the Lakers on the first night of a tough back-to-back.
The first half started exactly how we would like every game to start, as the Heat opened the game on an 18-0 run. They were getting good looks, dunks, lobs, layups and everything. Meanwhile, the Lakers were just broke and missed everything they took. It wasn't until under the 5 minute mark that Kobe Bryant drained their first shot. The Heat led 22-12 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw much of the same from Miami. In fact for the entire first half the Heat scored 44 points. Of that, 38 came in the paint, the other six from the foul line. Miami was determined to get good shots and get in the paint. The Heat lead by ten at halftime. The only blemish on the first half was the news that Dwyane Wade suffered a hamstring strain and didn't return to the game. Wade was on his way to a triple double with 4 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
The second half got off to a different tone. The Lakers were able to cut the Heat lead all the way down to 2. And without Wade, and Chris Bosh still not doing much, Miami seemed to be in trouble. The Heat held onto their lead and were only out scored by 2 in the quarter. Just timely plays from Mario Chalmers, Chris Andersen, and even a three-pointer from now seldom used Shawne Williams.
Shabazz Napier got to play some in the fourth quarter, but it didn't amount to anything special. Napier actually played the entire fourth quarter after not playing at all before. It was his defense that helped him stick in the game. The fourth quarter was sloppy, not much scoring from either side.
In a game that the Heat needed Chris Bosh to step up without Wade, he never did. You know who did step up? Mario Chalmers! Rio scored back to back baskets late in the fourth to give the Heat a cushion and eventually pull away. Miami had only a 2 point lead before that. Chalmers lead the Heat with 19 points and 8 assists.
Kobe missed a three just before the buzzer that would have tied the game.
Miami won the game 78 to 75.
Again, it was the play of Hassan Whiteside that was the most encouraging and most impressive out of the Heat lineup. Whiteside still played less than Andersen, but collected 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks. Bosh finished with only 8 points for the night.
The most notable thing among the last few games is watching the Heat's pace change. They are already one of the lowest scoring teams in the league at 94 PPG, and this won't help. But they are doing it at their pace, the way they want to play. With a traditional center on the court at all times now, they are playing a new brand of basketball.
The Heat are now 17-21 and will face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.