Christmas day in the NBA. It has become a huge tradition for NBA fans. The league puts together marquee match-ups that stretch out through the entire day. Even the casual fans will know the players facing off on Christmas. LeBron, Kobe, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and DWade were just a few of the big names that suited up yesterday. For the NBA, this day is about more than just star power and ratings. The holiday games really represent the beginning of the season, at least as far as garnering the public’s attention. The NFL is winding down their regular season, there is no NHL season yet, and in the NBA you can start to see which teams will matter come April-June.
The Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder are two of those teams. After squaring off in the NBA Finals to end last season, these two squads are starting to build a little bit of a rivalry. There was plenty of intensity yesterday inside the AAA, as demonstrated by the five technical fouls called during the game. So far, the Heat have the edge in this burgeoning rivalry. Miami beat OKC to win the NBA title in June, and they handed them a holiday loss yesterday, 103-97.
Balance was the key to the Heat’s victory on Tuesday. LeBron James was the team leader in every major category, but he didn’t have to win the game by himself. James dropped in 29 points against the Thunder, while Wade threw in 21 points, and Mario Chalmers, who played an excellent all-around game, chipped in 20 points. Miami also showed throughout the game yesterday that their defense will always be a factor when it is needed.
Miami led almost the entire game against the Thunder, but Durant was able to lead his team to a brief 2-4 point lead in the second half. If these two teams see each other again it will be in a Finals rematch. Right now the Heat appear to have the upper hand, but there are plenty off things they need to tighten up. For one DWade has to be better with the ball late in games. He was in the Christmas spirit yesterday and gave the ball away several times in the 4th quarter against pressure from OKC. In addition, the Heat shouldn’t be throwing up thirty 3pt shot attempts a game(8-28). They have been the best in the NBA from behind the arc this year, but they are better when they are driving and getting to the free-throw line, where the team was a perfect 18-18. So Merry Christmas to all of the Heat fans, your team is the best in the East, and after beating the Thunder, may just be the best in the NBA.
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...).