A double-overtime game would usually spell disaster for your average NBA team that’s on its fifth game in seven nights.
Then again, the Miami Heat aren’t like your average NBA team. While the Sacramento Kings ended up playing some of the best basketball fans haven’t seen since the days of Chris Webber, the Heat continued to answer with sustained execution that resulted in 55 percent shooting in a 141-129 win.
The 141 points matches a franchise record for points in a game.
Dwyane Wade led the Heat for the majority of the night before finishing with 39 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks, but it was LeBron James making the big plays in the second overtime–scoring seven consecutive points in a minute-long span–that enabled the Heat to one of their most thrilling victories of the season.
With the game in the Heat’s favor 128-127, the Kings found any sort of momentum wiped away by what took place with 3:21 remaining in the second overtime.
Marcus Thornton, who canned eight three-pointers to finish with 38 points, stole a Mario Chalmers pass and was running a one-man fastbreak with Ray Allen and Wade trailing. Going up for the layup that would give him his 40th point of the night, Wade chased Thornton down and pinned his shot to the backboard.
While Thornton complained to the refs for goaltending, which it clearly wasn’t, Wade raced down court and found a wide-open LeBron for a wing three-pointer. Being the consistent force he has become from beyond the arc, James nailed the three, only his first of the night on only his second attempt. Following another Thornton miss on the other end, LeBron hit a mid-range jumper to give the Heat a commanding 133-127 lead with 2:23 left.
James then sealed it with a pair of free throws, he hit 1-of-2 to send the game into a second overtime, and assisted on Chris Bosh’s ensuing dunk and a Wade layup.
LeBron scored 32 of his 40 points after halftime. He redeemed himself after getting his layup blocked near the end of the first overtime that would have given the Heat a two-point lead with only seconds remaining. He claims he was blocked, there certainly was contact, but it was a tough spot for a foul to be called in an intense game where free throws and fouls hadn’t played too big a factor.
In all, LeBron scored 11 of his team’s 17 points in the second-overtime.
It turns out that executing in a half-court offense is more sustainable than jacking up three-pointers and wishing for the best, essentially the Sacramento Kings gameplan for the entirety of 58 minutes. Yet, somehow, the Kings nearly came away with a win thanks to 14-of-27 shooting from beyond the arc, including 8-of-12 shooting from Thornton, 3-of-4 shooting from John Salmons, and 2-of-4 shooting from Isiah Thomas.
Miami actually had opportunities to put away the Kings in regular and in the first overtime, but threes made by Thornton, a 37 percent shooter from deep this season, kept Sacramento around for nearly 56 minutes. Miami had a 110-101 lead with 2:20 left in regulation, before the former second-round pick of the Heat’s proceeded to hit three consecutive three-pointers.
It drew a lot of comparisons to the last role player to have an incredible shooting performance against Miami. That player being Cleveland Cavaliers’ rotation player C.J. Miles, who had five three-pointers in the Heat’s 109-105 win this past Sunday. It seems that there’s a Marcus Thornton or C.J. Miles every night going up against the Heat, yet they continue to overcome the odds by continuing to play a game that results in high-percentage shots.
Miami also held a 121-118 lead with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Naturally, Thornton hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to give Sacramento a 124-123 lead. LeBron’s free throw would eventually tie it up.
The Kings could have beaten the 1996 Chicago Bulls with the performance they had last night. Alas, they were taking on a Miami Heat team that featured 79 combined points between Wade and James, and 94 combined points from the “Big Three”.
Bosh struggled most of the night, especially when it came to keeping DeMarcus Cousins’ influence under the basket in check, but he had several big buckets in the two overtime periods, before finishing with 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. His inability to box out kept the Kings around, including allowing Cousins to get position on an offensive rebound that turned into an easy layup and would inevitably send the game into overtime.
Of course, that could have been avoided had Wade not missed two free throws on the other end a few seconds before.
Contributing in a big way was Ray Allen. While he didn’t score in either of the overtimes, he did convert five three-pointers to finish with 21 points. Allen had one of the biggest shots of the night when he had a falling-away corner three at the shot-clock buzzer that gave the Heat a nine-point lead with 2:45 remaining. That should have been enough, but nobody anticipated Thornton scoring nine points in less than two minutes.
Not even Marcus Thornton expected that.
Miami’s streak lives on and the Heat welcome the Memphis Grizzlies, currently riding a seven-game winning streak, this Friday.