LeBron James didn’t have Dwyane Wade on his side, as Flash continues to struggle with injuries this season, but he did have Chris Bosh, who has been having a great season so far. James scored 33 points with 10 assists while Bosh scored 30 himself, as the Heat went back to winning ways, beating the San Antonio Spurs 120-98.
James is himself this season, but more. Same fourth quarter problems, as Dwyane Wade continues to be the clutch man, but it’s a team problem, that doesn’t appear too often as the Heat tend to blow away opponents. Especially when the defense works, as it certainly did in the third quarter against the Spurs.
San Antonio were leading by 14 points by the second half began. The Heat had a 17-0 run in the third quarter, winning those12 minutes 39-12. There wasn’t any real need for the fourth, as the Heat won the second half 71-35. Simply blowing the Spurs off the court.
Both head coaches agreed, it was the defense that changed everything – LeBron James was great. He waited for the third quarter to come out and he went wild. That certainly helped them kick our butts. More than that in the second half, I thought they got really physical and I felt we folded. (Popovich)
We have a great luxury with three players who can do special things when you need it. No question about it, LeBron and Chris were brilliant offensively tonight and shouldered a big load there. But I told the guys that make no mistake about it, the commitment, the activity on the defensive side of the floor in the second half was about as good as we can be. (Spoelstra)
James will be incredible most nights, averaging almost 30 points per game and over 7 rebounds and assists a night. Chris Bosh is also having a fantastic start to the season, averaging 20 points per game, while Wade, who didn’t play, is having too much of a yo-yo season, including injuries that aren’t helping.
The Spurs have yet to win an away game this season, and their inability to keep a cohesive, 48 minute effort, especially with teams being physical against them away from, will put more numbers under the L column. They’re 9-5, which is pretty good considering Ginobili isn’t even playing. They won’t get very far with these kind of mood swings in games.
The big surprise for the Heat was Mike Miller, who missed too much of last season and didn’t really contribute in the playoffs. Just like Udonis Haselm, a good Miller is just like a new successful free agent, if he can keep it up. He scored 18 points, with a perfect night of 6-6 from three points land. Perfect won’t be happening every time he comes off the bench, but good will be pretty nice.
Will finish with the best player in the NBA right now, and for the past three-four years. LeBron James will have tougher tests when the season gets to April and May. He’ll need to show his worth in the final 12 minutes in crunch time, but if he plays this good, with this much energy on both ends, all season, he might not have to. And we’re still not even talking about the wingmen, who are just as important.