Two nights after the Miami Heat's two perennial All-Stars, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, turned in sub-par games in Miami's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wade and Bosh pulled through to lift the Heat over the pesky Sacramento Kings, 116-109.
After a few uneven offensive nights, Wade scored 24 points on 10-of-23 shooting from the field and added six assists and five rebounds in the effort. Bosh, meanwhile, contributed 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 11 boards, a double-double. Wade scored eight points in the third quarter, including a turnaround bank shot reminiscent of his 2006 NBA Finals days. Erik Spoelstra went to Wade on the Heat's first two offensive sets of the game, and it continued all night long. Wade took a few ill-advised shots, but on the whole the Heat's franchise player knew when to score and when to pass.
Bosh scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including two key 3-pointers. Miami's play of the game came with three minutes and 26 left to go -- Bosh set a crushing screen for Wade, and then Wade gave a soft touch pass to Bosh as he rolled to the basket. Feeling contact, Bosh flipped the ball over his head. Bosh converted on a three-point play to put the Heat up 108-97. Miami briefly went up by as many as 16 in the fourth, but Sacramento responded until the closing minute.
The Heat's two All-Stars weren't the only players who rebounded from off nights, though. Tyler Johnson shook off a 1-for-6 night against Minnesota to go 6-of-8 from the field and contribute 19 points off the bench. He simply does his job well -- shoots the ball with confidence, hustles on defense and knows how to play smart. Wade and Johnson played well together as a backcourt, and it helps that Johnson is connecting from the field.
Goran Dragic had another rough night, going just 4-of-11 from the field and just 1-of-4 from downtown. Dragic even missed a breakaway layup early in the third that he should always make. At what point does the Heat's $85 million point guard start to cause legitimate concern?
For the first time in 20 days, Amar'e Stoudemire played. Hassan Whiteside picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game, and Erik Spoelstra called the six-time NBA All-Star to the scorer's table. Stoudemire played about as well as anyone could have hoped, scoring 10 points in an eight-minute stint. He converted on two and-ones and made a nice pass to Luol Deng for a cutting layup. Stoudemire's second and-one came as a fadeaway in the post with the shot clock expiring. It's good to have players who can salvage offensive plays. It's important not to overstate one quarter, but Stoudemire put in good work.
For his part, Whiteside recovered from his early foul trouble. He blocked two shots in the first 30 seconds of the third quarter and put in a solid offensive game against Kosta Koufos with DeMarcus Cousins serving a one-game suspension. Whiteside finished with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting and five boards in 18 minutes. Whiteside even cleaned up a few Wade misses with some nice dunks. Also, Whiteside went a perfect 4-of-4 from the foul line.
The Heat will host the woeful Philadelphia 76ers Saturday at 8 p.m.