Feb 24, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra (left) and shooting guard Dwyane Wade (right) react during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the American Airlines Arena. MIami won 109-105. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat: Role Players, Not Just LeBron, Having Career Stretches During Streak

There has been plenty of attention being paid to LeBron James over the past month.

It’s deserving. LeBron has been playing unprecedented basketball and has led the Heat to a season-high 11-game winning streak. The streak has gone throughout the month of February, starting with a 100-85 win in Toronto on February 3rd and most recently building with a 109-105 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

As usual, LeBron is getting the brunt of the credit. Meanwhile, nearly every other rotation player has followed in suit.

LeBron isn’t the only reason why the Heat have scored at least 100 points nine times in the past 11 games; the lone exceptions being a 99-point outing against Charlotte and 86 against Chicago, who were held to 67.

Have a look at the players who aren’t filling up headlines with numbers for the history books:

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade was so good this past week that he almost stole away James’ Eastern Conference Player of the Week award. Alas, it’s no easy feat to do better than the “King”.

But Wade did have himself quite the outing in Miami’s 109-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Starting out 4-of-12 from the field for nine points in the first 36 minutes, Wade would end the night with a 15-point fourth quarter performance that came on 7-of-10 shooting, sparking a comeback that erased a seven-point Cavs lead with five minutes left.

Not bad for a 31-year-old on the second night of a back-to-back. He also had six assists, five rebounds, two blocks and only one turnover in nearly 39 minutes worth of action.

Wade hasn’t gotten nearly enough credit for this recent winning streak the Miami Heat have been riding since defeating Toronto February 3rd. During the 11-game streak, Wade has scored under 20 points on two occasions; once coming when he scored 13 in a blowout win over Oklahoma City, the other coming in a 19-point win over Chicago where he scored 17.

Wade has eclipsed 30 on three occasions, his most recent coming in an easy win over Philadelphia where Dwyane missed only four of his 18 shot-attempts to finish with 33. He also had 31 against Houston and 30 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

He had three 30-point outings for the entire season prior to the streak.

Surprisingly, he’s also been a force on the boards. He had a season-high 12 rebounds against Charlotte and has recorded at least five boards in all but two games during the streak.

Wade’s averaging 23.2 points on 52 percent shooting, 6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game over the past 11 contests.

He’s not LeBron, but those numbers for a second option are nothing short of brilliant.

Shane Battier and Ray Allen

It’s come to the point where it’s surprising to see Shane Battier miss a shot, and that’s saying something for someone we witnessed struggle to shoot 34 percent from beyond the arc last season.

Battier had two key three-pointers against Cleveland, including the go-ahead corner three that put the Heat up for good. He was 4-of-7 on the night and is now up to shooting 42 percent on the year.

He has at least one three-pointer in 13 consecutive games and has had three games during this winning streak where he has hit at least four three-pointers, including a 5-of-8 performance in a win against Atlanta. He has hit at least two three-pointers in eight of the past nine games.

Over the course of the entire winning streak? 30-of-54, good enough for a three-point percentage of 55 percent.

Ray Allen has also found his way after a lengthy drought that featured the sharpshooter converting only one three-pointer out of 12 attempts in a five-game span.

Since February 12th, however, Allen has been making the three-pointers the Heat have been expecting him to make. He’s 14-of-29 over the past six games and 7-of-9 over the past two. He has scored at least 11 points in six consecutive games, his longest stretch of the season with double-digit points.

Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole

When the Heat are getting Mario Chalmers to play without too many mistakes, chances are they’re going to end up with a huge boost courtesy of their confident point guard.

Chalmers has scored in double-digits in five games over the streak, and has scored a combined 30 points over the past two games, including a combined 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

He has hit at least one three-pointer in eight of the past nine games and has five games with at least two three-pointers during that span.

Norris Cole has also been a solid contributor, recording at least four points in all but two games during the stretch of wins.

Four points may not sound like too much, but any contribution from someone outside of the “Big Three” is a bonus.

After recording only two double-digit scoring outputs in the first 45 games of the season, he has hit at least ten points on two occasions, recently tying a season-high with 12 points in a win against Philadelphia.

Miami is 4-0 when Cole takes at least ten shots. Take that for it’s worth.

Chris Bosh

Before he started taking a beating in the tabloids, Chris Bosh was having some of his best games of what was another quiet season as a member of the Heat.

Bosh has 32 points on 28 shots in the past three games, yet he’s only two weeks removed from an outing against Portland where he had 32 points on 16 shots. That came during a season-long stretch where Bosh had three consecutive double-doubles.

He missed two games in the third and fourth games of the streak, which followed up two outings where Bosh combined for 51 points on 37 shots.

Since the All-Star break, however, Bosh has had two games of single-digit scoring. The 13 points on 12 shots he scored against Philadelphia represents his highest-scoring in the past four contests.

Wade’s increased role has played a part in Bosh’s decreased scoring, but Chris isn’t looking for his shot nearly as much as he was in the games leading up to the break. After taking at least 14 shots in the five games leading up the break, Bosh has had less than ten shot-attempts twice in the past four games.

He also recorded more than six rebounds in any of those games.

LeBron James isn’t the only Heat player having the best stretch of the year. This winning streak has brought out the best in everybody and it’s happening around the time where teams could go into cruise control.

But it’s also happening at the same time where Wade said not to judge him until. As long as there is an assurance that Wade is contributing at a high level, the Heat are destined to get out of the East. They will need Bosh and everyone else when it comes to defeating the Western Conference’s best in a seven-game series.

The San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, and even the Memphis Grizzlies could pose a serious challenge to the Heat. If this Heat team is capable of turning it on in the playoffs, which they are, then it’s going to be a sight to see if there is much more than a meaningless 11-game winning streak in the regular season.

Next Heat Game Full schedule »
Friday, Oct 2424 Oct7:00at Memphis GrizzliesBuy Tickets

Tags: Chris Bosh Dwyane Wade Lebron James Miami Heat NBA Ray Allen Shane Battier

comments powered by Disqus