After getting some rest, which coincided with two consecutive losses for the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade was back in festive mood, which resulted in some entertaining basketball on the court, combining for some high flying alley oops with his partner in crime, LeBron James, and pulling off yet another post-game photobomb while LeBron was getting interviewed, drawing even more attention to himself.
There was also an actual game besides the circus – The Miami Heat beat the sliding Minnesota Timberwolves (losing 7 of their last 9) 103-82. LeBron James enjoyed not getting beat up on the boards for once and nearly pulled off a triple double, finishing with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists, while also turning the ball over 7 times. Wade was quite efficient upon his return, scoring 19 points on 50% from the field, looking like the rest did him and his knees quite a lot of good.
The Timberwolves struggle when Ricky Rubio is doing badly, and the Miami Heat, who always have a special plan for point guards that involves a lot of trapping and swarming, made him look awful. Rubio was limited to only 1 points (0-of-4 from the field) managing six assists but also turning the ball over six times. That forced Kevin Martin to do too many things on his own. Without Kevin Love, missing the game after the death of his grandmother, there really wasn’t much for them to hope for.
So the Heat put on a show. Once it was James practically dancing between players before a very nice assist to Mario Chalmers (9 points) and later it was Dwyane Wade, setting up James for the off-the-glass Alley Oop.
We don’t like losing back-to-back games, and we definitely don’t want to lose three in a row. So it was a good pick-up game after the loss to Chicago. Don’t talk about it, just go do it. To me, when I say it, I go and make it happen.
After losing to both the Bulls and the Pistons in games that reminded everyone that James needs help around him and that their rebounding problems are very real and serious, it was nice not having to feel like a bunch of kids cowering under the bigger boys in the neighborhood. The Heat did lose the rebounding battle 45-44, but it’s always been about their ability to defend the outside shot (5-of-22 from beyond the arc for Minnesota) and keeping teams from generating ball movement along the perimeter. In that, they succeeded quite well.
What’s next? More of the same. With Wade healthy, the Heat aren’t going to look as vulnerable as they did in the previous two games. It doesn’t mean there aren’t things that don’t need fixing, but in general, the mood is good once again. LeBron James played angry which worked out quite well, and with second quarter performances like this, most teams will pack it up and won’t bother putting up a fight late in the game.
He came out with force. And it was on both ends. He was active, he was over the top with his athleticism. Some of the rebounds were up over the crowd, playing out of the post, but also in transition playing in a different motor.