There’s not much more you can ask from your star players – come back from a 15 point deficit, while one of them (LeBron James) posts a triple double and the other (Dwyane Wade) had probably his best game of the season, topping it all with an overtime win for the Miami Heat.
Looking at the numbers, it’s hard to see why the Heat struggled so much to put away the 15-27 Raptors in Miami. The Heat won the rebounding battle 53-28, with LeBron James, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh grabbing in double figures. LeBron James had his 34th career triple double, second most in the NBA since he entered the league in 2003-2004, trailing Jason Kidd with 57. James scored 31 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 11 assists. It is his second triple double of the season and the 20th by any player in the NBA. Rajon Rondo, with three, is leading this season once again.
Dwyane Wade scored 35 points and added 7 assists. It was Wade’s highest scoring game of the season, but the problem wasn’t the offense, shooting 54.9% from the field, or even the turnovers. They simply couldn’t stop the Raptors on defense, giving up 116 points, winning 123-116.
It was typical for a team to come off a long road trip, have days off and try to get back in a groove, especially versus a team that offensively is one of the top 10 in the league in offense and scoring the ball. t took us time to get our legs into it and get our rotations down, but as the game went on we were able to do that.
We’ve been hearing this excuses about the Heat’s defense all season long, but the fact is that their legs look slow and tired most of the time. They did give quite a concentrated effort in the wins against the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers, but once again, a Raptors team that is one of the weakest in the East made life very hard for the Heat on the perimeter (14-31 from three), as the Heat struggle chasing down teams with good ball movement this season.
We knew it was going to take a little while to get the engines back started, but we got enough stops in the second half to give ourselves a chance to win. The biggest things is winning, that’s what it’s all about.
If anyone thinks the Heat should be worried, they certainly don’t look that way. Despite their problems when it comes to rebounding and playing strong defense on consecutive away games, there’s just too much experience from everything that’s happened over the last couple of years, including two NBA finals, not to mention having a lot of faith in the talent and personalities on this team, to get too carried away with anything: Not with beating the Thunder on Christmas or the Warriors and the Lakers on the road. Same goes for losses – they’re just an opportunity to learn about others and themselves, while giving off a vibe of “if we really wanted, we could have won that game.”