This has become the norm. LeBron James puts up the big numbers and perform well in the fourth quarter with both points and assists, Dwyane Wade continues to struggle with his shooting and Ray Allen hits another big shot that wins the game for the Miami Heat. Not a bad way to go through a season.
This is what Ray Allen was brought here to do; take more load off the shoulders of LeBron James, now having another player to hit open shots while he concentrates all of the focus from the opposing defenses. Dwyane Wade? This season is an uphill struggle for him, just like being part of a great defense . With all of the joy from hitting yet another big three pointer, the Heat shouldn’t have made this such a close game against a San Antonio Spurs team without their big three and Danny Green.
But an 82-game NBA season isn’t going to be about big wins every time. The Miami Heat are about April and May, not wins in November. If this 5 point win against a depleted Spurs team is going to make them better in a few months, than there’s enough room for mistakes and allowing themselves to make this game a lot harder than it should have been.
James put up the usual stat line: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. He also added 7 points and 3 assists in the fourth quarter, as the Heat made a big surge back from a very surprising deficit in what should have been a very easy Thursday night game.
Ray Allen came out as the hero again, and it’s becoming a recurring storyline this season. James draws the defense to himself in the closing minutes, and having the option of Ray Allen, one of the surest three point shots in the history of the NBA, waiting wide open in the corner. James is going to get the double team, and is going to get a chance to find the open man. Allen has been pretty perfect in that aspect so far this season.
He’s hitting 51.9% of this three point attempts. It’s easy when you’re the third and fourth option on an offense, with hardly any of the focus directed at him. Allen may have not enjoyed his reduced role with the Boston Celtics last season, but seems to be perfectly suited for it with the Miami Heat, and very much fine with it. It’s easier when you know the chances of winning the NBA title are better than they were with the previous team. Allen is now 3-for-3 this season on game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds, tied for the most makes in the league. He was 0-4 in the same situations the previous two seasons.
Again, not all great with the NBA champions. Dwyane Wade is struggling with his shots, going 7-17 from the field. He has rarely been over .500 this season, shooting 2.1% lower than his career numbers. The defense allowed over 100 points for the third consecutive game; they’re allowing 100.3 points per game, 25th in the NBA. Things are far from perfect.
But even on bad games, LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, and there’s no better top 4 group at the moment in the NBA, with James, Bosh, Allen and Wade combining for 80 points. With James more and more comfortable with himself and ability to make the right decision in the fourth and the added clutch ability of Ray Allen, the Heat are still the best team in the NBA.