Since joining the site less than two weeks ago, I haven’t had an easier piece to write than this one, as the Miami Heat defeated the Los Angeles Clippers by the score of 111-89.
The game opened up in the third quarter, with the turning point coming with Miami up 12. That’s when DeAndre Jordan blocked an attempted drive to the basket by LeBron James, thus forcing the jump ball.
However what should’ve been the spark for a Clippers run instead turned into the spark for Miami’s third quarter dominance. The Heat would outscore the Clippers 47-37 to end the game, and the only reason it was even that close was due to LeBron James sitting out the entire fourth quarter while Dwyane Wade was taken out of the game for the final time with over seven minutes left in the final period.
With that in mind, how did the Heat grade out against the Clippers, a team that had dominated them in their first meeting back in November?
Very, very well as you will see.
LeBron James — A+
30 points, five rebounds, six assists on 9-for-11 shooting.
Do I have to say anything more than that? The very model of basketball efficiency is LeBron James, which was on display once again against the Clippers.
Oh and while putting up efficiently gaudy statistics, LeBron also managed to have this oft-replayed moment.
Is there as such thing as an A++? LeBron clearly deserves that.
Dwayne Wade — A
Dear Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN; a B+? Really? You couldn’t give Wade an A for this performance?
Wade gave us A-quality basketball despite dealing with the same flu that rendered Chris Bosh and Ray Allen out of the game. Despite that Wade was able to show some old flashes of 2006 Flash-era Wade while giving the Heat 20 points on exactly 50 percent shooting while also being more of a distributor than he’s been in recent memory by tossing out seven assists.
Wade also added six rebounds and four steals. How exactly is this just a “B” game?
Mario Chalmers — A
In the first quarter, Mario Chalmers was grasping his lower back as he was walking into the locker room in pain.
In the second and third quarters, Chalmers would hit a three almost immediately after entering the game en route to an 18 point performance that saw him hit five of eight shots from beyond the arc while only turning the ball over once and stealing the ball three times (to go along with two rebounds and three assists).
Shane Battier — A
Battier would join the three party movement by sinking four of his own while playing great defense on Blake Griffin, who only managed to score 13 points along with grabbing only five rebounds.
Udonis Haslem — A
Perfect three-of-three shooting along with six rebounds and good defense up front meant just another day at the office for UD.
Rashard Lewis —B+
Things you don’t notice until you look at the boxscore: Rashard Lewis was only three rebounds short of a double-double. I’m dead serious, Lewis ended up with 10 points and seven rebounds while playing 27 minutes, which was only four less than LeBron and Wade.
Mike Miller — B-
Man did I miss seeing this guy flying all over the court. His shot was off (which is to be expected when you’re on the bench for the better part of a month), but he was able to hustle his way into getting four rebounds.
Norris Cole — C
I hate nitpicking but, Cole does get the lowest grade, due mainly to his two turnovers and two-of-five shooting.
Chris Andersen —A
Another season high in minutes as The Birdman continues to find his legs (or would it be wings); Andersen contributed eight points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in his 18 minutes of action.
ESPN NBA Studio Show — F
Someone has to get an F, might as well be the boys at ESPN. On a night that saw the defending champions soundly defeat a contending team from the West, followed by a great game between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz that came down to the final minutes, most of the talk during the pre-game show, both halftimes and the SportsCenter segments after both games was about the Heat’s next opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers.
I’m sure Lakers fans will point out that two years ago when the Heat were the center of the basketball universe they will say they had to endure the same thing. My answer to that: want a cookie?
But seriously, I think the basketball universe is collectively sick and tired of the Lakers. I just hope that Miami can beat the Lakers soundly, because if the Lake Show can keep it within 10 and chalk up another “moral victory”, all we will hear is how the Lakers are back.
The Lakers will be back this season, back at home. I’m not saying that as a boasting fan, but rather as a basketball analyst who sees the West being too tough and the Lakers too far behind to make a legitimate run back into the race, barring a key injury or trade.