The Miami Heat hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder after returning home from a 5-game road trip. Unfortunately, the Heat lost 94-86 to the Thunder, and fell to 7-13 at home and now 18-23 overall. Here's some insights from the game.
Miami came out to a hot start, immediately finding Whiteside for two consecutive buckets. The Heat started the game disruptive on defense, but were murdered in transition by dunks, and even a Steve Adams fast break. Luol Deng appeared ill, but still managed to make a strong impact on defense as well as grabbing some boards. Wade and Whiteside reminded me of the Shaq and Wade days of 2005, they have amazing chemistry and it absolutely shocked the Thunder defense. Whiteside played great defense, and was spectacular from the field going 5-5. Shabazz who is continuing to play a role in the Heat rotation looked good maintaining solid court vision as a floor general. Approaching the end of the quarter the Heat were hit with with two consecutive threes by Anthony Morrow, but it was Napier who hit a buzzer beater to return fire and allow the Heat to maintain their lead into the second.
Miami came out with a head full of steam looking to build upon their first quarter success. Craziness ensued right off the bat, that resulted in a Birdman three point shot following a dunk by Kevin Durant. The absence of Whiteside was felt early as Miami was broken apart by easy dunks and floaters in the paint. Bosh was solid, but his success was quiet as usual, regardless he managed to score his 50th three point shot of the season. Wade continued to play very well, obviously feeling good from his time off and proceeded to dominate Westbrook in the post. Miami continued to turn the ball over, and the woes wouldn't stop there as Whiteside sprained his ankle minutes after returning to the game. Following his injury OKC began to dominate, and Miami struggled on offense, not scoring in over 4 1/2 minutes. Despite their shooting woes they managed to fight back, and play strong defense and convert on some offensive baskets, they managed to end the first half on a 10-3 run.
Wade started the third slicing through the OKC defense, and Miami followed his lead firing on all cylinders. However it didn't last long as the typical third quarter implosion came to fruition allowing OKC to go on an 11-0 run. However, Miami still remained in striking distance. Chris Bosh managed to take up the scoring reigns, and kept Miami fighting, however they still struggled guarding the paint. Also in a ironic twist of fate Mario Chalmers yelled at Shabazz Napier for not moving the ball. All in all it wasn't a terrible quarter for Miami
Miami started the final quarter decently, playing decent defense and converting on a Shawne Williams three quickly followed by a Norris Cole layup. Miami's ball movement was fantastic as they constantly found open men, though not always hitting the shot. Norris Cole sprang to life hitting a three point shot, and Birdman was found flying twice for back-to-back alley oops. Wade also looked to take over the quarter by utilizing his new found old man game to get very easy buckets. However just when things started to surge Miami took their foot off the gas, and let Rusell Westbrook get hot allowing him to hit an easy jumper and a beautiful transition dunk. As the clock wined down in the final minutes Chris Bosh missed an important free throw. Bosh seemed mentally shaken, not even guarding Steven Adams in the paint. Despite the hot start to the quarter, it almost looked like Miami was throwing in the towel early with players actually walking back on defense. Danny Granger hit a three to bring them back within 7 with a minute to go, but OKC looked to run the clock out, with Miami walking through the final seconds and fouling the Thunder. With this loss the Heat fall 5 games under .500.
- Hassan Whiteside: Whiteside was spectacular before spraining his ankle. He showed great chemistry playing alongside Wade and managed to go 5-5 from the field.
- Dwyane Wade: Wade looked very good coming off his most recent injury. Wade managed to post a solid stat line of 18 points and 6 assists.
- Chris Bosh: As per usual Bosh played very well scoring 16 points and grabbing 7 boards
- Norris Cole: Despite a forgettable season thus far for Cole, he had some good moments in this game as well as a decent showing of 4 points and 4 assists.
- Shabazz Napier: Napier looked good in the rotation scoring 5 points and dishing out 4 assists as well as a beautiful buzzer beater.
- Mario Chalmers: Maybe it's my fault, but it seems like every time I cover the Heat, Mario plays terrible. He had a bad stat line tonight scoring only six points and turning the ball over four times.
- Luol Deng: I know Deng was sick, but maybe he should have just taken the night off. He scored eight points and just seemed to be out of touch with the game.
- Turnovers: The Heat had 21 turnovers in this game, that is deplorable.
- Whiteside's injury: I thought about posting a .gif of Hassan's injury here, but it was very gross and I'm going to spare you all the displeasure of seeing another man's ankle twist in a horrific way.
- Giving up: The Heat seemed like they gave up with two minutes to go in this game, to any fan that's disappointing.At least Danny Granger gave an effort at the end, it was just sad to see after such a hard fought game.