After beating the Toronto Raptors 90-83, the Miami Heat have now won nine consecutive games, all while LeBron James is putting on one of the more impressive seasons in terms of efficiency and shooting accuracy to go along with what we’ve come to expect of him, which is more or less greatness, and being the best player in the NBA.
At the end of the game, Dwyane Wade was asked about the job Erik Spoelstra is doing as a head coach. Something of a return to the old days of dissing the young coach, degrading his part in the success of the Miami Heat during the big three era. Wade’s answer? He’s making the best player in basketball take only 14 shots a game.
That may not be statistically accurate, but when compared with players like Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, James is practically bashful with the ball. Maybe that’s why he’s making so many of his shots. The remarkable thing about his season aren’t the 26.2 points per game he scores (27 against the Raptors), but his field goal percentage. He shot 10-of-17 against Toronto and is shooting 59.8% this season. He leads the NBA in points per shot with 1.67, is third in points per game and fifth in the league in field goal percentage.
He’s getting plenty of help from Dwyane Wade, scoring 22 points in the win, scoring at least 21 points in each of the last four games after taking a couple of games off to nurse his painful joints. When rested and healthy, Wade is still one of the more spectacular players to watch in the NBA. The key is balancing his playing time in order to keep that going, and knowing when to rest him and when to ask him for his best is another thing Spoelstra has been able to do quite well.
The win over the Raptors took a twist in the middle. The Heat led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, but the Raptors managed to bring it down to only two points late in the fourth. However, they missed their next five shots after narrowing it down to 83-81, unable to ride the momentum they built any longer. The Miami Heat were happy with the win, but were mostly talking about how they almost let this one slip away, shooting an awful 4-of-18 from the field in the fourth quarter. Some of it was caused with James having a painful back, the result of colliding with Tyler Hansbrough.
We would have loved to push that huge lead up in the third and just keep it going but they’ve got some good players. They got stops, we turned the ball over, we didn’t execute and they got back into the game. But we finished it out. You’ve got to have these types of games throughout the course of the season, the games that challenge you. You see how you can execute, see who’s going to show up late in the game and execute on both ends. These games are fun. I love the rest, but I hate sitting in the fourth quarter.