It took a couple of last-second three-pointers by Chris Bosh and Michael Beasley respectively, but the Miami Heat closed out a four-game road trip and 2013 with two encouraging wins against the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets.
The win against Portland was a win against the NBA’s winningist team at the time. The win against Denver was a victory against adversity as well.
On a night when Dwyane Wade was supposed to play, Wade left the game early in the third quarter with an inflamed back after getting bumped hard and would not return. Norris Cole also went to the locker room after falling and banging his head on the hardwood on a fast break attempt.
On James’ birthday, he put up 26 points (5-9 from three) and 10 assists. The last assist came on Beasley’s clinching three.
“I made the right play, Beas hit a heck of a shot,” James said in the televised interview after the game.
James, who faced so many criticisms for giving up the ball early in his career, is comfortable making the play at 29 years old.
2013 was the year of the Heat. The team won an historic 85 games and an NBA championship.
And finally, the Heat won for the 85th time in 2013, the second-biggest win total by any NBA team in any calendar year.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 31, 2013
This season, the Heat are 24-7, good for one of the best records in the league. Unlike the first year the team came together, when the Big 3 consistently led them in scoring every night, their is no telling who will (or might have to) step up on a given night in 2013-14.
Tonight it was Beasley. Sometimes it’s Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole. On many nights, Wade doesn’t even play.
That doesn’t stop this Heat team. At least it hasn’t in 85 games, including two Game 7′s and many games with an incomplete roster.
And so the Heat celebrate James’ birthday by going back home to Miami, and bring in the New Year with much to be encouraged about.
2013 was a very good year for the Heat and their fans. They also made Fansided/TiqIQ’s top ten most expensive sporting events of the year with game 7 of the NBA finals. Check out the entire top ten list here.