The Sunday Afternoon marquee match-up between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers from Miami was everything that everyone expected this game to be back in September when the Lakers brought together a superteam of their own.
For the first 24 minutes of the game that is.
For the final 24 minutes, it ended up showing the difference between the two teams. Miami was in perfect harmony throughout the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lakers by 10 on their way to what turned out to be a 107-97 victory. While the Heat were in sync for much of the second half, the Lakers began to unravel in much the same fashion they have throughout the season, with their nadir coming in the fourth quarter when they turned the ball over eight times.
Once again, a team from Los Angeles comes into Miami and falls, making grading this team just a tad easier. Here’s a look at the grades.
LeBron James — A+
I’ve just about run out of things to write about LeBron during this recent run of superior shooting, especially since everyone seems to have something to say about it.
But what can you say, especially after he once again proved that he’s the NBA’s current alpha dog thanks to a 32 point performance that included seven rebounds, four assists and three steals along with shooting 12-of-18 from the field and missing only one free throw (which he would rebound then sink a three).
Dwyane Wade — A+
Is this Dwyane Wade of late the Dwyane Wade Miami is getting in the playoffs? The same Dwyane Wade that has the 2006 hops with the 2013 brain and court vision? Wade would score 30 points to go along with five assists against the Lakers, and should be considered the best shooting guard in the NBA right now (yes, even better than Kobe).
Chris Bosh — A
I’m glad that Chris Bosh is feeling better, and I’m also glad that he put up a 12-11 game that included a blocked shot.
More double digit rebound games please!
Mario Chalmers — A
I’ve been impressed with Chalmers play in the last two games, as he put up another 13 points against the Lakers. He also had four rebounds and three assists to go along with those points.
Udonis Haslem — B-
Halsem would not score any points and only grab five rebounds, yet he was crucial to the Heat when it came to guarding Dwight Howard down low.
The whole team did well against Howard, however it should be mentioned that Dwight really doesn’t look right. He had his flashes against Miami, but it wasn’t like his Orlando days when he was almost guaranteed 15 rebounds when facing the Heat.
Shane Battier — A
Nine points off of three-of-five shooting along with great defense. That’s what the Heat expect out of Battier, and again he delivers.
Ray Allen — C
Why does a guy who seems like he’s colder than the Northeast this weekend get a C? Because despite Allen’s struggles in the last few weeks (and they’ve been big struggles), he did manage to actually play good defense when guarding Kobe Bryant.
I’ve only seen Allen defend two fellow shooting guards well. Thankfully one of those guards Allen seems to do a great job guarding his his teammate Dwyane Wade. The other is Kobe Bryant, who Ray didn’t exactly shut down but he did force Kobe to work his butt off to get anything going when guarded by Allen, in much the same way he’d have to work against Wade.
Chris Andersen — B
Three rebounds, one steal and two blocks. Once again Andersen produces energy in his limited time on the court. Remember, he doesn’t have his legs yet. The downside that’s not really a downside: four personal fouls.
But speaking of those fouls…
Officiating — D
How many times did I roll my eyes at this one? Plenty of times actually. Any attempt Miami made at defense was cancelled out by very questionable touch fouls. Seeing LeBron pick up four fouls in a game? Understandable, he can get aggressive and while he at times gets away with it, we do understand that there will be some nights when LeBron is a bit too physical and he won’t get the benefit of the doubt on defense.
Seeing Dwyane Wade pick up four fouls is the same thing as LeBron. He can be physical at times, and he can get away with it. However this didn’t seem like one of those days, in fact Wade’s defense, while tight, was nowhere near dirty and it was just good. I could understand three fouls, not four.
Haslem, Chalmers, and Andersen also picked up four fouls. How is it that the equivalent of a starting lineup picks up four fouls each?
The Lakers on the other hand had only two players pick up four fouls, and both of them are players you’d expect (power forward Earl Clark and center Dwight Howard) who were driven on throughout the game. Even then, the Lakers shot nearly twice as many free throws as the Heat (26-14), and this wasn’t due to Hack-a-Howard (Dwight only shot five free throws the entire game), but rather the fact that it seemed like any player within the general vicinity of either Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant was whistled for the foul as the two combined to shoot 16 free throws.
Once again, the Heat, a team that primarily drives to the basket in order to set up their three-point opportunities, only shot 14.
I’m not the type to whine about officials, especially after a 10-point victory (only Pacers fans do that). But you have to admit that there are some inconsistencies to those numbers.
Lil’ Wayne — F
That’s not only for his behavior during the game (which we will get to), but for his music and what he did to my favorite genre of music.
Lil’ Wayne is the most overrated rapper of all time. I’m sure you members of #TeamYMCMB will get your torches out now but just think about this: we’ve reached the point where Weezy isn’t even the biggest member of his own clique (he’s in a solid third place behind Drake and Nicki Minaj).
Both Drake and Nicki are better artists than Weezy, but that’s all I have to say about his music. His behavior during the game was reprehensible.
If Weezy wants to come to the Heat game to support the Lakers, that’s fine. But the Heat didn’t kick him out for that reason. If they did that, then Spike Lee wouldn’t be allowed to attend Knicks games at the AAA (I’m still hoping they ban him by the way), and other celebrities wouldn’t be able to come to the AAA to support their team. That’s not how the Miami Heat does things, especially since I’m sure they’d want to stay on Weezy’s good graces in order to book his next tour, whenever he’s touring again.
In case you haven’t heard, Lil’ Wayne claims via Twitter that he was kicked out of the American Airlines Arena due to him cheering for the Lakers.
So I’m @ da Heat game right, rootin 4 da Lakers kuz dats my team & would u believe they got police 2 make me leave?! Wow! F#€k da Heat
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) February 10, 2013
However the Heat claim that Weezy chose to leave on his own accord, per Will Manso of WPLG Local 10.
So #Heat say Lil Wayne was NOT kicked out of the game.He choose to leave on his own.I’ll say I believe the team on this one.
— Will Manso (@WillManso) February 10, 2013
Some fans who were at the game claim that Wayne was kicked out for threatening a Heat fan.
Random guy yelled at Lil Wayne at #MiamiHEAT game. Weezy looked back, gave him a mean stare & gestured he had a gun. LOL what a douche
— Señor Danny Vega (@sdVEGA) February 10, 2013
Again, I doubt the Heat kicked him out for cheering on the Lakers since Spike Lee is still allowed in the building when the Knicks play down here and if there’s anyone I’d love to see kicked out of a basketball arena, it’s Spike. But if Weezy was kicked out for threatening someone, then he’s a punk, plain and simple. If he left because he couldn’t handle some fans heckling him for cheering on the Lakers (and wait, wasn’t Lil’ Wayne a Heat fan yesterday), then he’s an even bigger punk. Guess what: if you go into an arena cheering for the road team, you will be heckled, especially if you started it (which some people who were there claim to be the case).
If you can’t handle it, don’t go to the game! There weren’t any other reports of problems between Lakers and Heat fans, and in fact, WPLG Local 10 even did a story on Lakers fans who attended the game that focused on the jovial tone both fans showed. Either way, Lil’ Wayne, you get my random F for the game. I’ve lost a lot of respect for you after today, but it’s not like I had a lot anyways.
On the bright side Weezy, I still respect you a heck of a lot more than Chris Brown. That will never change.