Miami Heat Index: Heat Hold Off Lakers


100. 110. Final. 94. 20

“We won a game yesterday, if we win one today that’s two in a row. If we win one tomorrow that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before. SO LET’S JACK IT UP A LITTLE!” – Lou Brown, on the 2014-15 Miami Heat.

The Miami Heat entered Wednesday’s game looking to keep pace with teams like the Hornets, Pacers, Nets, and Pistons in the battle for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers seemed like they would be the perfect team to help with that.

Of course, this Heat team can’t make things easy.

The Lakers had seven players in double-figures on Wednesday night, led by Ed Davis and Wayne Ellington each going for 14 points. Old foe Jeremy Lin came off the bench and contributed 12 points and led all players with 9 assists, to help spearhead a spirited effort for a Lakers team missing Kobe Bryant and Nick Young.

After a slow start that saw Miami play very sluggish for most of the game, only shooting 40.5% from the field, they did just enough to pull out the win. Their defense was a big factor in the second half, holding L.A. to 32% from the field. The win improves the Heat’s record to 27-33, and helps maintain their half-game lead over the Hornets for the seventh spot in the East. The Lakers fall to 16-44, and it helps them continue to be awful in hopes of keeping their top-5 protected lottery pick.

Oh, you might have noticed I’m going back to the old format. Why? Because I’VE GONE ROUGE! We’re in utter chaos now!

Things that pleased me: The Hassassian was YOUR boy on Wednesday night! Going into the matchup with the Lakers and their limited front court, you figured Hassan Whiteside could go for 20-20 easily; he only managed 18 points and 25 rebounds. Such a disappointment. Throw in his four blocks and you get another great effort from the player that everyone seemed to pass over the past few years. Whiteside is the real deal. The sky is truly the limit.

Not to be outdone, Goran Dragic followed up the emotional win against the Suns with another 21 point effort (6 of 10 shooting) on Wednesday night. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Dragic is happy with his new role in the offense, as opposed to the one he just left in Phoenix. Once he gets fully comfortable with his new teammates, the assists will come – he only had six vs. L.A.

After a rough start to the second half of the season, Dwyane Wade seemed to get back to his old self, being super aggressive against a Laker team that had no answer for him. While his shooting (7 for 17 from the field) wasn’t to his standards, he made a concentrated effort to assert himself and get to the line (11 for 12 from the line; Lakers were 11 for 17 as a team). He tied Dragic with six assists, and he was able to find Whiteside on back-to-back possessions late in the fourth that helped seal the win.

Things that annoyed me: The Lakers aren’t exactly known for their offense, especially without Bryant or Young in the lineup, so imagine the annoyance that Heat fans had to have had when they shot 58% from the field, and 60% from three in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Heat aren’t exactly known for their bench strength, but 19 points, on 7 for 27 shooting, from the second unit isn’t helping matters. Miami just have guys out there that you have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. Henry Walker was 3 for 10, taking as many attempts as Whiteside and Dragic. Speaking of which…

Things that perplexed me: WHY IS HENRY WALKER TAKING AS MANY SHOTS AS HASSAN WHITESIDE AND/OR GORAN DRAGIC??? Does Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra think that’s somehow a good idea? Sure, Dragic is the facilitator, so it’s his discretion when he opts to shoot. But this is an offense that needs to be funneled through Whiteside, as defenses don’t seem to know how to best deal with him. Of course, the one knock on Whiteside is that once he gets the ball, that thing isn’t coming back out. He has four assists all year! You might as well send a search and rescue team at that point. With that said, Whiteside needs to have more than 10 shots in a game.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how badly did I want to throw a lamp because of Mario Chalmers? 6. First, let’s have a moment of silence for the departure of Chalmers’ fellow Crash Brother, Norris Cole, as this section loses a little bit without him around.


And we’re back. I’m actually in the process of moving, so any excess lamps are fair game. This was the least Chalmers game imaginable, as he was held (restricted? Mind-controlled?) to just 1 of 3 shooting from the field. I actually had to double-check to make sure he didn’t leave the game because of injury. Nope, he was just not very good. Not to mention Lin coming off the bench and dropping a 12 and 9 doesn’t exactly make things better.

What we learned: This Heat team just won’t make things easy. On paper, the Lakers shouldn’t pose much of a threat, but this is the second game this season that went down to the final few minutes between these two teams. Not to mention the Heat already have losses against the Sixers, Timberwolves, and Magic, so all bets are off. There are no easy games for this squad, so prepare for long nights.

With that said, all the talk has been of Miami clinging to the seventh/eighth spots in the East, that you may not realize that they’re – at the moment – five games behind sixth seeded Milwaukee (who plays at Golden State late Wednesday night), and they traded their best player, Brandon Knight, for reasons known only to them, because the Bucks, so the Heat have a chance to do something if they can put a little bit together. Friday they play a reeling Wizards, followed by home games against the Kings, Nets, and Celtics. Hope may have been already beaten out of Heat fans by now, but this stretch can pump some life back into them.

Guess we’ll find out what the Miami Heat are made of.