Things aren’t supposed to look this good this early.
What we saw from the Miami Heat in their 105-78 victory over a hapless Detroit Pistons team was a roster composed of a minority group of All-Stars that were already showing signs of being in mid-season form. That includes the recipient of offseason knee surgery who just made his season debut only a week ago, failing to register more than 20 minutes in either of his two appearances since.
That recipient, Dwyane Wade if you haven’t guessed by now, recorded 21 points on 13 shots, dished five assists and grabbed three rebounds in a little under 23 minutes. Wade had it going early and often against a Pistons team that was soft in the middle throughout, scoring the majority of his points in a first half where the Heat were up 27 after the first 24 minutes of action.
His fellow All-Star teammates had similar success. I feel like I’ve said this every game thus far, but LeBron James had another effortless, yet significant outing finishing with 13 points, eight assists, four rebounds and four steals in 27 minutes. Chris Bosh finished with 16 points, shooting 9-of-10 from the foul line, and six rebounds, but also struggled with fouls ending up with four in 22 minutes.
Foul trouble has been a recurring issue in Bosh’s first games of the preseason.
Wade and James led the highlight reel, stringing together a few fastbreak dunks and highlight plays in the first quarter and setting the tone towards a 27-11 advantage after the first 12 minutes. Even Bosh was in rare form, successfully running the floor and drawing fouls against a solid center in Greg Monroe, paving the way towards a 51-44 rebounding advantage. Shane Battier chipped in six rebounds, five of those coming in the first quarter.
Ray Allen shot poorly, seven points on 11 shots, but was active with five rebounds, three steals and a block. The Heat continue to help Allen acclimate to his new designation as a sixth man, as well as having him in the team’s second unit–which features LeBron James in a role where he is the lone superstar creating plays. The team is attempting the same with Rashard Lewis, who had one of his more effective games with seven points on five shots and two rebounds.
The Heat as a team converted only nine three-pointers on 28 attempts. But they were taking three-pointers that were worth taking. A large majority of the Heat’s three-point attempts come off of wide-open shots, yet that may be the exact reason why the Heat managed to only shoot 32 percent on consistently open shots. The potential, however, is there.
Allen converted 1-of-5 from deep, while Battier and Mike Miller converted two apiece.
This is a game not worth thinking about after tonight. It was a predictable win against a team that should be losing in similar fashion to the Heat during the regular season. Also, it’s the fourth game of the preseason. And the opponent is the Detroit Pistons.
However, a win like this still features some more assurance that the Heat are going to end up being the team to beat. Even if both teams aren’t playing near to their full potential and not unleashing their best lineups and plays, it’s an easy win that you wouldn’t usually see from this Heat team. Over the past two seasons, it’s taken the Heat a few games into the regular season to look as good as they do now, particularly in their two wins.
To think that this isn’t even close to as good as they’ll end up playing once the season ramps up and players become situated in their roles and niches. Also don’t forget that Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony have yet to play, Wade is coming off knee surgery and has no sign of ill-effects, Allen and Lewis are still attempting to get their legs under them, and the team’s best player–the reigning league and Finals MVP–isn’t even trying.
But it’s preseason. So let’s not allow a blowout victory over a mess of a Pistons team. A Pistons team that featured two players scoring in double-figures, shot 35 percent, and one of its offseason acquisitions–Corey Maggette– limp off with an ankle injury early in the first half.
The Heat were good and the Pistons were bad. It’s tough to describe the game as anything else than that.
The team was without Anthony, Haslem, Chalmers, Rodney Carney and Jarvis Varnado. Miami plays Saturday at 3:30pm against the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Arena.
Whose Stock is Up
With Terrell Harris’ minutes being cut short, Garrett Temple has stepped up in the chase for one of those remaining two spots. Tonight he finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting and dished out two assists while committing no turnovers. He did commit five fouls in only 12 minutes, though.
Another solid outing by the center. Harrellson finished with five points and five rebounds, converting 1-of-5 from beyond the arc along the way, but also filling in nicely in the middle and creating a presence in the lane.