The Miami Heat were without Dwyane Wade against the top team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors. All we could ask for was that Miami puts up a good fight against such a good opponent. That happened in spurts, but not nearly enough.
The Heat tried to shake things up in the wake of Wade sitting. Spoelstra started Shabazz Napier and Hassan Whiteside both for the first time this season. It was probably the right move, as it is becoming clear that Whiteside deserves more minutes than Chris Andersen. Although I believe Hassan is much better alongside Wade creating for him. And the way that Norris Cole is playing, Napier deserves some run.
The first half saw the Heat score only 38 points, and against the Warriors, that's a nightmare. Golden State scored 55 and that was probably a success for the Heat. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were the catalysts behind the Warriors lead, while Bosh was the only bright spot for the Heat. Bosh was much better than the previous night in L.A. He finished the game with 26 points and 7 rebounds.
In the second half, the Heat were able to cut the deficit in the third quarter to 9 points, but couldn't get it any closer. Luol Deng and Whiteside both played really well. But without Wade, there was always a lull to how long the Heat could really push the Warriors. Every time the Heat would get under double figures, the Warriors would knock down a couple threes. The Heat also really struggled turning the ball over and it halted their chances.
In the end, the Warriors always kept that lead between 9-18 points and although Miami threatened, it was never enough. With reality of who they were playing, the Heat really didn't put out too bad of an effort. Sometimes the competition is just in another realm. Golden State won the game 104-89.
If we are going to look at the bright side of all of this, it again starts with Hassan Whiteside. He again reached a double-double with 12 rebounds and 10 points. He also added 3 blocks in 29 minutes of play.
Golden State was led as usual by Curry and Thompson. Curry had 32 and Thompson had 19 for them as they paced the team. They improved to 31-5 while Miami falls to 17-22.
Shabazz Napier's numbers aren't overwhelming, but it's clear that he is an upgrade over Norris Cole. Cole plays great defense and knows the system, but offensively, he is slowing the Heat down. I don't know what to make of it or what to do with it, because I like Norris, but it might be time he takes a seat. In this one, Napier had 10 points and 6 assists.
The Heat are 2-2 on their road trip, and will conclude the 10-day journey on Friday night when they visit the Sacramento Kings.