Although not down-to-the-wire as their previous home game against Toronto, the Miami Heat still found a way to captivate their fans through an array of highlights that will fill up ESPN’s Top 10 tomorrow morning.
And Birdman. Even the latest Heat signee garnered some minutes in a contest that also featured a $75,000 half-court shot by a fan that caught the attention of both benches, no individual being happier than LeBron James who tackled and hugged the fan who would later admit to being Bulls fan.
That was the only thing that went wrong in the Heat’s 110-88 victory. The team, most notably Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, collectively put on a show against a Pistons team that was limited to two players scoring in double-digits. Outside of the 44 combined points from Greg Monroe and Will Bynum, ten other players combined for 44 points.
It wasn’t nearly enough against the onslaught of dunks and the chemistry that was put on display between James and Wade in the second quarter. On three consecutive possessions, the two would combine for a two-points that ended in a vicious jam by either of the two All-Star starters. It bared a significant resemblance to the third quarter of Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers.
Wade finished with 29 points, his third consecutive game of at least 27 points, to accompany seven assists, five rebounds and three steals in only 34 minutes. 17 of the points came in a second quarter where Wade converted seven of his eight field-goal attempts, making mincemeat out of Kyle Singler, who was strangely given the assignment to defend Dwyane. Wade held Singler to two points on six shots on the other end.
Wade was in rare form and bringing up memories of the Dwyane that once led the league in scoring and had one of the greatest NBA Finals performances of all-time. He made a slew of circus shots and relentlessly attacked the rim on a night where he unleashed his famed crossover, his ability to cut through double-teams and drive through traffic to finish off a once-ina-lifetime shot.
Well, once-in-a-lifetime for everybody else. Not so much for Dwyane Wade.
His partner-in-crime LeBron James had a typical night in the form of 23 points on 14 shots, seven rebounds and seven assists.
His defense was quite astute as well. After yielding six early points to Tayshaun Prince, both three-pointers, James would hold Prince to two points on 1-of-5 shooting for the rest of the contest. However, he will be mostly remembered for the series of alley-oops he and Wade combined for near the end of the second quarter, each one being as impressive as the last.
Just another night at the American Airlines Arena.
Aiding James and Wade on their conquest was Chris Bosh and his 14 points and seven rebounds, as well as Ray Allen and his 11 points and two three-pointers off the bench. Bosh and Haslem had a solid night on the boards, despite Monroe’s 13 rebounds, and led the Heat to a 36-35 rebounding advantage. Four Heat starters had at least five rebounds.
Although Monroe’s big night would lead you to believe defense was difficult to come by for Miami, especially after the frantic pace they played at against Toronto two nights ago, but it was really just a one-man effort. The Pistons had a considerable amount of turnovers (18) to a low assist total (11). They shot relatively well at 47 percent, but it’s mostly supported by Monroe’s 12-of-17 performance.
Two Pistons starters ended up with two points. Three Pistons starters had at least three turnovers. Nobody on the team had more than five assists.
That’s the Heat defense we thought was left behind in Los Angeles.
On a lighter note, Chris Andersen got some playing time with the game in hand. In a little more than three minutes, Andersen contributed two points on his only shot to accompany two rebounds and some great activity for someone who’s played 32 games since the 2011-’12 season. His presence on the floor certainly made an impact, effecting the shots of drivers and aggressively going for rebounds.
Although Joel Anthony appears to have a stable spot in the rotation, it’s an assuring thought knowing that there’s a 6’11” center waiting in the wings.