It always feels good when your team breaks a losing streak, but you half to believe that this time it felt even better than normal for everyone inside that Heat locker room. Miami had not only lost five straight, they had blown big leads to rivals like Orlando and Chicago. Coming in to town on this Thursday was the LA Lakers. Not only is Los Angeles the two-time defending NBA Champions, but they were also the only team that hadn’t lost a game(8-0) since the All-Star Break. Throw in the fact that the Lakers coming to Miami means Kobe Bryant will be facing off against Dwyane and LeBron, then you have plenty of potential drama lined up for a TNT Thursday Night Game. In this case, the contest didn’t disappoint. The Heat had to do plenty of things right to come out victorious.
There were some good signs for Miami early on as Chris Bosh lived up to his word and took the ball inside successfully several times early in the first quarter. Mario Chalmers pitched in by knocking down three triples early in the game as well. When Chalmers came out, Mike Miller entered the game and contributed. We all know how the Miami fan can be a little casual, but if someone started watching the came about halfway through the second quarter, they would have seen that Miller and Chalmers were the two leading scorers for the Heat. I’m sure reaction would be “Oh Jesus, who got hurt?” While Wade and Bron struggled through the first half offensively, the team really played as a solid unit. The best indicator of how well they were working to correct areas that have haunted them was to check out some key team stats. While the Lakers are a much bigger team, in the first half Miami out-rebounded them 23-15 and outscored them in the paint 26-18. The Heat led at the half even though the two leading scorers were Bosh(16 pts) and Miller(11 pts).
The biggest story of the second half was defense. Wade shut down Kobe for almost the entire half and the team did a great job of fighting for steals, loose balls, and rebounds. D3 and James combined for the most exciting play for Miami fans, starting with a Wade steal from Kobe and ending in a LeBron dunk. The Heat certainly had chances to collapse during this game, but unlike the past few games, whenever LA would hit a big shot, or a questionable call would go against them, Miami would answer it with their own big play.
This game is probably the best example of a team win this season. Nobody had a great game, but there were great plays. Chris Bosh wound up leading the Heat in scoring, but the game tonight wasn’t really about a box score, it had more to do with heart. If you watched the game, you got to see things like offensive rebounds, second chance points, and other rarities for this Heat team. Miami can beat the Lakers, we know this. The question is, “Can the Heat make it to the Finals for a chance to play them again?”
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).