The Miami Heat had the look of a team that wanted to take its frustration out on a defenseless team.
The 27th ranked defense of the Sacramento Kings would suffice. It seemed as if the entire Heat roster wanted a part in an all-around strip-down of the Kings defense, scoring 128 points in a 29-point victory. Although the Big Three combined for a pedestrian 47 points, they were supported by Mario Chalmers.
It was that kind of night.
Not only did the Heat set the season-high for points,Chalmers tied the franchise-record for three-pointers after converting ten of his 13 three-point attempts. He matched Brian Shaw’s 20-year record, while finishing with a career-high in points with 34. He made 12 of his 16 shots and did it all without taking a free throw.
The other guys were good, too. LeBron James finished with 20 points–the streak starts again–on ten shots, seven assists, five rebounds, five steals and two blocks in a game where he played a season-low 29 minutes. In the middle of helping the Heat create a 22-point halftime lead, he and Dwyane Wade connected for the alley-oop of the season.
Heat basketball in one play: Pressure defense forces a turnover, unselfishness leads to a fastbreak, and freakish athleticism ends up putting a cap on another play you’ll end up seeing with the number one spot on ESPN’s top ten.
This pass may rival it:
17 of their 37 three-point attempts fell. Mike Miller converted four of his eight attempts and Rashard Lewis found minutes in garbage-time and made two of his four shots. Ray Allen finished hitting only one of his five attempts, but was one of five Heat players who scored in double figures.
Dwyane Wade filled the box score with 11 points, seven assists, five rebounds, four blocks and two steals.
Chris Bosh had 16 points, five assists, and four rebounds. His defense on Jason Thompson (2 points on 1-of-3 shooting in 22 minutes) was some of his best work of the year. Although his rebounding was below his average, he and the rest of the Heat did a fair enough job of keeping one of the bigger frontcourts in the year; one that features DeMarcus Cousins who came into the game averaging 10.2 rebounds.
Udonis Haslem led the Heat with eight rebounds and provided Cousins all an undersized power forward could against one of the league’s better centers. Cousins was forced into jumpers throughout the night and failed to make what could have been a bigger rebounding margin for Sacramento, who also featured a 6’11” Jason Thompson.
Cousins recorded only eight rebounds and scored six points below his season average in 32 minutes. Rookie Thomas Robinson came off the bench for ten rebounds in 24 minutes. Isaiah Thomas scored a season-high 34 points on only 22 shots, hitting six of his eight three-point attempts. That included a four-possession stretch that were finished with his three.
Thomas’s memorable night may end up being pushed back into one of the more forgettable days for the Kings. At least there weren’t too many fans to witness it. Most of Sacramento was indisposed with the San Francisco 49ers playoff matchup with the Green Bay Packers. The Kings’ loss will be soothed with the 49ers’ victory, moving them within one win of a Super Bowl berth.
Sacramento fell to 13-24.
Miami moved to 24-11 on the year and bumped up their record to 1-2 on the six-game road trip. It was the Heat’s first win since Christmas where the game was decided after three quarters. They were supported by 56 percent shooting, and a staggering 35 assists on 45 shots to only ten turnovers. Miami’s offense was working at its best, moving the ball and finding open shooters.
Chalmers, obviously, ended up benefitting the most off of all these wide-open looks. He hit at least two three-pointers in every quarter. He was aggressive from the start, converting the first points of the game on a driving layup and proceeded to have eight of the first ten points that helped the Heat build a 14-2 lead. He would finish with 13 points after one as the Heat went into the second quarter up 11.
The Heat pushed the lead to ten with 9:48 left in the second quarter and held a double-digit lead for the rest of the game. They pushed the lead up to 38 with 2:05 remaining in the third. The dogs were called off for the entire fourth quarter and it gave us a first look at Jarvis Varnado. The former Heat draft pick finished with two points and a block in nearly six minutes worth of game time.
The road won’t get any easier from here. Utah awaits on Monday.