The Miami Heat might no longer have an official big three, but the kind of scoring Luol Deng produced in the 105-96 win over the Dallas Mavericks was certainly superstarish in nature as he combined quite well with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to lead the team in an impressive away victory.
Maybe it was more of a big four than big three performance. Mario Chalmers scored 18 points off the bench and seems to be doing very well as the leader of the second unit. Bosh and Wade each scored 20 points while Deng led the team with a game-high 30 points on 13-of-19 from the field and 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, enjoying some fantastic ball movement from his teammates to put himself in plenty of comfortable situations. It was the first 30-point game for Deng since December of last year, when he scored 37 in a double overtime loss while playing for the Bulls. It’s his first regulation ’30’ since January 2013.
Norris Cole is the on-paper point guard for the Miami Heat but the guy with the ball in his hands most of the time is Dwyane Wade, reminding fans of just how good of a playmaker or psuedo point guard he can be now that LeBron James isn’t next to him, taking charge of most of the possessions. Wade finished with 10 assists and is averaging 6.9 per game. He isn’t as quick as he was during his younger days in the league, but he’s suddenly playing in a similar role again.
The same can be said of Chris Bosh, who is no longer the guy standing on the perimeter all the time in order to space the floor. Sure, the heat are using him in that way as well, but he’s getting plenty of his points from the paint and going to the line a lot more (6-of-11 in this win). He grabbed 10 rebounds to make it a double double, something that rarely happened last season, but also finished with five assists, as Deng or Wade filled his spot in the paint quickly whenever Bosh stepped outside for a shot or a ass.
It was the first home loss this season for the Mavericks, who got plenty of second chances thanks to Tyson Chandler grabbing 10 offensive rebounds. It helped, but only a little on a 41.2% shooting night. Dirk Nowitzki started well but cooled off in the second half to finish with 17 points on 40% shooting, while Monta Ellis led the team scoring 23 points. The big disappointment was Chandler Parsons, having his worst game since opening night, scoring just four points on 1-of-9 from the field, struggling with the very good defense from Deng and others all game long.
We still have a lot to figure out. Their game plan today, they doubled Bosh and D-Wade, and we did a good job of moving the ball and had a lot of open jumpers. This was a very, very good win, our best of the year so far. It was a challenge to play six games in nine nights. It feels good to come onto a court and outplay the home team.
This Heat team is looking good through almost two weeks of the new season. The rebounding is still an issue, Josh McRoberts still looks hobbled most of the time, Norris Cole is abysmal on most occasions, just like he was last season. This isn’t the championship team the Heat had in 2012 and 2013, but it’s still a very good one that relies on things other than star power to win games. Who knows, maybe they have the right formula again.