If only the rest of the NBA were the Sacremento Kings right? Your Miami Heat beat the Kings last night 95-83 without Dwyane Wade. The Heat were consistent on the defensive end throughout and used gang rebounding to offset the production of Demarcus Cousins. In 5 of the past 6 games Miami has held the opponent to under 100 points. The Heat have also out rebounded the opponent for the 4th straight time and 8th time in the past 11 games. So clearly from those stats you can see a defensive identity being created. Time to look at some players:
[Chris Bosh 30 points, 7 rebounds] - With Wade being out, Bosh took on the scoring load. On both ends of the floor he accepted the challenge of containing Cousins, who had 7 turnovers and only 3 points int eh 2nd half.
[Luol Deng - 25 points, 6 rebounds] - Deng did to Sacramento what he previously did to Dallas. He himself gets in rhythm when the offense is consistently moving the ball around. Last night was no different.
[Shabazz Napier 12 points] - Funny how he went from D League to 2nd game in a row as the starting Point Guard. I hope once Wade comes back, Napier is his back court mate. The kid doesn't have a shot but his vision is great on the floor and he has a natural ability to be a talented floor general. Hope he doesn't go back to the D League next week though.
[Hassan Whiteside - 4 points, 2 blocks] - Was I the only one hoping for a 20-10 game of anger from Whiteside to the Kings for cutting him years ago? Once I read Birdman was out, I had a feeling Hassan would be struggling. The problem with Whiteside is that as good as he and Miami is when he's on the floor, he has to learn not to foul so quickly. He picked up his 2nd fould less than 2 minutes into the game. It's also crazy to me how even with minimal minutes, the man makes an impact on the floor. Including last night Whiteside has had at least 2 blocks for the past 9 games.
Miami has often had trouble in the 3rd quarter, but recently have been improving. Will the OKC Thunder prove to be too much offense for this team or will Miami establish its defensive identity? It goes down Tuesday. See you then!