Some thoughts on Orlando's 104-95 win over Miami tonight. You can look at this one a couple of different ways if you're a Heat fan. You can look at it from the standpoint that the Heat didn't play all that well, yet because of their immense talent this was still a winnable game for them. Despite another poor shooting night from Dwyane Wade and poor 3-point shooting as a team (4/18 from long range) the Heat actually led this game 88-87 late in the 4th quarter before Orlando finally put them away with a late run.
The flip side of this is, it showed just how far the Heat have to go. The Heat were once again picked apart by an elite point guard as Jameer Nelson went for 17 points (including 11 in the 4th quarter) and a career high 14 assists. The Heat just didn’t have an answer for the high pick and roll that Orlando ran down the stretch and that 88-87 lead became a 9 point loss in a matter of minutes. The Heat also missed the presence of Udonis Haslem as Dwight Howard went for 24 points and 18 boards (not wholly unexpected), but Brandon Bass managed 18 on 9/12 shooting and 6 rebounds of his own in 26 minutes off the bench. Haslem’s replacements?
Joel Anthony – 11 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound, 5 fouls
Jamaal Magloire – 10 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 foul
Juwan Howard – 12 minutes, 2 points, 0 rebounds, 1 foul
Erick Dampier – Did not play coach’s decision
It should be noted, the group combined for 0 defensive rebounds as all 3 were on the offensive end. Chris Bosh actually left the game briefly in the first quarter with back spasms. Can you imagine the state this team would be in with Haslem out and then no Bosh on top of it?
One other somewhat scary observation, Dwyane Wade was essentially outplayed tonight by JJ Redick. Wade went for 18 points 7 boards and 5 assists in 40 minutes but shot the ball poorly (6/21 from the floor, 1/5 from long range). Redick, starting in place of the injured Vince Carter, played 43 minutes and scored 20 on 5/12 shooting, hit 3 3-pointers and was a perfect 7/7 from the line while contributing 4 rebounds and 5 assists of his own. Needless to say, any night that Wade is getting outplayed by Redick, who by the way came into the game shooting just 29.5% from the floor and was 4/28 from long range, is not going to be good for the Heat.
The Miami Heat fall to 8-7 with the loss and the team some people speculated might win 70 games has now lost 3 in a row.