1. Chris Bosh was aggressive, but why?
He came out with his eyes set on the rim, scored 11 of the first 15 points for the Miami Heat and nailed a three pointer in the first quarter. On a night that Dwyane Wade decided not to play, Bosh stepped up. The question is, is that because Wade decided not to play? Would Bosh have gotten as many touched? My guess is yes. Wade was expected to play but bowed out just before tip off. I believe that Bosh had planned on starting the preseason with a bang.
Going against Al Horford tonight, his 21 led the team and he grabbed 5 rebounds too. Most importantly, Bosh was decisive and never felt like he needed to honor anyone else on the court with a pass or set up. It’s only the first preseason game, but it is still very good to see.
My favorite play was with about seven minutes left in the second quarter, Bosh almost lost the handle on the wing, regathered and spun past Hawks guard Jared Cunningham — who looked like a quarter was just pulled out of his ear for the first time — and easily laid it in for two. When I dream, this is what I imagine Bosh doing.
Advanced stats side note: Bosh and LeBron James paired up for more minutes than any other two-man lineup for the Heat last season, logging 1,990 minutes on the floor together (Wade and James were second at 1,932 minutes), so seeing the two together without Wade is nothing new and figures to continue in 2013-2014.
2. LeBron James mailed it in and that’s okay
9 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. That was LeBron’s stat line for the first preseason game. His first two shots were long jumpers (first a long clanger from a step in front of the three point line, the second an open but unnecessary three). He hung out on the wing, didn’t establish himself in the post and grabbed rebounds when they were around.
However, his defense was spot on and his passing was incredible (his five led the team in assists). It’s the first preseason game and he has nothing to prove.
My only concern is that his passiveness led to Bosh’s opportunity to be aggressive.
3. Stress on defense worked
Rotations were crisp (enough for the first preseason game) and, although the Hawks lack a main scorer, or anyone who I would confidently bet a dollar on to average more than 18 points per game this season, the Heat seemed keen on making sure it defense was up to par. After getting off to a slow start defensively last season, it’s been reported that the Heat want to be ready to go at that end at season’s start.
4. Roger Mason Jr. could be bad for Norris Cole
Mason Jr. scored 14 points on 3 of 4 shots from three, made all five of his free throws, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. Cole was 4 of 9, hit one three-pointer, grabbed one rebound and had no assists. It’s one preseason game, I know. But this is a battle worth watching. The recent rumors of a Cole trade makes this even more dramatic.
5. Juwan Howard the player and Juwan Howard the assistant coach looks the same on the sideline.
Seriously. Suit. Tie. Sitting. Waiting for his moment to throw stuff in the locker room.
A few more things: Shane Battier looked crisp in getting to his spots and his shot looked great. He hit both of his three-point attempts. I thought Mario Chalmers played better than his stat line and I was very sad that we didn’t get to see Michael Beasley. The Miami Heat play the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, 7:30 PM ET, in Detroit.