The skid out of playoff contention continues for Miami and it is showing no signs of slowing down as this brutal road trip is taking it's toll on Miami.
The first quarter featured five early Miami turnovers within the first five minutes, but Miami actually managed to lead most of the quarter thanks to spirited play from Luol Deng and Chris Bosh. Bosh scored eight points in the first while Deng had six points and five rebounds.
The second quarter featured a dominating performance by Dwight Howard. Howard, who finished with 23 points, had 19 of them in the second quarter, getting deep position on post ups and depositing easy jump hooks. Hassan Whiteside, Chris Bosh, and Chris Andersen all took turns on the big man, but had little luck. While Howard is a dominating force, his paint catches were far too deep at times. At the same time, Miami couldn't afford to double Howard due to the bevy of three point shooters Houston employs.
Houston's 2nd quarter lead ballooned to nine, but Miami actually got within two points a couple of times. After that point, however, the game was essentially over. Houston ended the quarter on a 10-0 run, then blew the lid off in the third quarter as Miami mustered four points in the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each had 15 points. Hassan Whiteside added a season high 14 points in mostly garbage time, but nonetheless continues to be the one bright spot this team has. His hands are solid enough that he can catch lobs similarly to Chris Andersen, but also has more bulk (though he can still add more to his frame) to battle and score inside.
Miami has a team had a ghastly 21 turnovers, allowed Houston to shoot over 50% from the field, and drain 13 three pointers. Houston had seven different players net at least eight points, led by James Harden's 28.
This loss isn't one to be ashamed off in a vacuum. Houston is a title contender and it's a tough road game for any NBA team. The tailspin Miami's season has gone in, however, makes blowouts like this more glaring. With the road trip featuring upcoming games in Portland, Golden State, and both Los Angeles clubs, the losses to Philadelphia and Indiana at home sting that much more. The climb back to .500 is getting harder with the chasm of losing only growing deeper.
Miami makes a quick trip back home to face the Brooklyn Nets tomorrow. Miami is 2-0 vs. the Nets this season, but the Nets have been much improved since the benching of Deron Williams and insertion of Jarrett Jack into the starting lineup. Miami can't afford to pencil in any game as a victory at this point and this matchup may be one Miami absolutely has to grab.