By the time the starters were announced for the Heat tonight, you would think it was Miami that was 18 games under .500 entering tonight. A final lineup of Shabazz Napier, Dwyane Wade, Henry Walker, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen were announced only minutes before tip off, the 25th lineup of the year. Just let that sit for a second. That means out of 62 games, almost every third game would have a different lineup. If Coach Spo decided to start Michael Beasley it would of been 2008 all over again. What a season.
Miami scored it's first basket three minutes in (seriously) and were down 20-17 with three minutes left in the first. Sacramento was shooting 50% along with being 4/5 from down town compared to Heat's 1/4 from three point land. Although it was temporary, Miami took it's first lead with a line up of Tyler Johnson, Mario Chalmers, Walker, James Ennis and Michael Beasley on the floor. That's a lineup where three guys were playing in the D League THIS season and one was playing in China. After one Miami trailed 30-26 and was led by Johnson (7 points) and his nifty passes
GIF: Birdman threw down this nice dunk earlier in the 1st quarter! pic.twitter.com/Mgm7lZUtYs— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 8, 2015
Sacramento led 35-30 with over nine minutes left in the second and the offense was revolved around Demarcus Cousins. Fortunately for Miami, Cousins picked up picked up his third fouls with over eight minutes remaining. The lead grew due to the offense provided by Rudy Gay, who had 18 points in 19 minutes. At the half Miami trailed 61-47. If there's anything you've learned recently, its to NOT give up on Miami when they're down, but can Miami comeback when the production leader is...Tyler Johnson?
Beasley and Johnson started the second half for Miami. Demarcus Cousins then became Whiteside and fullfilled the role of "dunk on people" and gave Sacramento a 69-56 lead with over six minutes left. Wade then got into "three pointer mode" and Henry Walker got kept followed with "missing three pointers" mode. Kings took control 74-58 with under four minutes left but Miami ended the quarter with a 10-4 run behind Johnson Wade and Beasley and at the end of the third trailed by only 10, 78-68. Comeback?
Mario Chalmers opened up the fourth with a three. The offense started to flow around Beasley as the Heat trailed by four with nine minutes left. The Tyler Johson effect continued and got Miami down within one.
Tyler Johnson is becoming the . . . Hassan Whiteside of guards.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) March 8, 2015
Beasley then stepped up with defense!! Yes you read THAT right. Beasley and defense in the same sentence. Call it Be-fense? Miami then took the lead with this Wade basket:
and then went up by 4 with a Henry Walker three pointer. Who is he you ask? Remember Orlando? yea him. Beasley then fouled out and his exit was followed by a standing ovation (yes you read that right too.) With 40 seconds left, the game was tied at 96 all and 40 seconds later, the game was heading into overtime. Unusually exciting for two teams with a combined record of 49-73.
GIF: Check out the EL HEAT bench reaction to some exciting 4th quarter basketball! pic.twitter.com/zxCpCgrtIM— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 8, 2015
Johnson continued to go beast mode and with three minutes left the game was tied at 100. Without the defense of Beasley, Miami gave up two back to back layups from Cousins and Andre Miller, and then trailed 104-103 with dos minutos remaining. Cousins then fouled out amd free throws from Chalmers and Andersen made it a 105-104.
TYLER JOHNSON THEN PUT THE GAME AWAY WITH A THREE POINTER!!
So can the Heat afford Whiteside after giving Johnson and Beas max deals? Discuss.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) March 8, 2015
Tyler Johnson is the 3rd Dragic brother.— Will Manso (@WillManso) March 8, 2015
The Heat went up 108-104 on that basket and eventually won the game 114-109.
#ELHEATgame Final (OT): EL HEAT 114 - Kings 109. Wade 28pts, Johnson 24pts, Beasley 18pts, Chalmers 12pts, Andersen 11pts, Walker 11pts.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 8, 2015
Let's put this game into perspective. Miami was missing 3/5's of it's starting lineup. Dragic, Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside make up 41.7 points of offense. You couldn't expect the 2/5 that came to play to make up that offense, especially considering how it's a defensive minded UD and a hobbled Wade. The take aways from tonight should be that Tyler Johnson can be a solid rotational player and Beasley 3.0 is the best Miami has had so far. The potential of these type of players heading into next season continues to be the only picture that can be used to combat the reality of this season. But the players mentioned refuse to think about next season. They instead fight for this season. A season that continues to get more and more entertaining one comeback at a time. A 16 point deficit became a five point victory. What a night.