Miami Heat Makes and Misses: Third quarter struggles and more

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 17: Dion Waiters /
2 of 5
MIAMI, FL – NOVEMBER 15: James Johnson
MIAMI, FL – NOVEMBER 15: James Johnson /

Make: James Johnson

Out of all the negatives that cropped up yet again this week, James Johnson finally looked like the player who earned a long-term contract with his dynamic play and leadership.

While it was just for one game, Johnson’s 20 points, five rebounds and four assists during a big road win in Washington, was just what the doctor ordered. Following a disappointing home loss to the same team, Johnson honestly evaluated himself, calling his performances “terrible.” He responded like Spoelstra and the Heat hoped he would in the following game.

Much of Johnson’s season so far has been full of hesitant play, almost pressing to make the big impact that earned him his contract in the offseason. But Friday night against the Wizards looked far more like the old Johnson, with the forward using his activity to get moving downhill towards the rim and free up his offensive game.

Confident, active Johnson is the best way for him to play to help the Heat win. Even though he’s open for a wide open three, Johnson sees his big man with excellent position down low and makes a great pass for the score.

Johnson had his inside and outside game working against the Wizards, for a much needed return to form, if only for a night. Even though his stat-line wasn’t as impressive against the Pacers (no member of the Heat owned a good line though), there were still flashes of the shot-creator that can open up the offense, like this touch pass to Wayne Ellington.

The Heat need more playmaking, particularly from someone like Johnson, who can initiate the offense and is deeply involved in the pick and roll game. They can only hope that moving forward, he continues this pace along with his steady contributions on the defensive end.