Not clutch? That shouldn’t be an issue anymore. In a tough game that forced the Miami Heat to dig deeper than expected, coming back from 16 points down, LeBron James was the one who pulled of the late seconds magic by hitting the game winning shot and leading the NBA champions to a 101-99 win over the Orlando Magic, left wondering how Victor Oladipo didn’t hit a wide open potential game-tying shot as the buzzer went off.
The final play for Miami didn’t exactly go as planned, but it came down to James in a one on one situation facing Arron Afflalo, and hitting a jumper from the top of the key. Just like the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals (game 7), the Magic were punished for trusting James won’t have it with a mid-range jumper.
On the other side, Afflalo took an impossible shot, but in the skirmish for the offensive rebound, Victor Oladipo seemed slightly stunned to be completely by himself, a few feet from the basket. Less than two seconds on the clock, he botched the game-tying opportunity, and LeBron James came up with the final rebound to shut out the game.
A great performance from the Heat? Far from it. They didn’t play smart basketball, and shot a terrible 24% from beyond the arc. For a team that relies so much on their ability to stretch the floor, having Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and Norris Cole combine to shoot 3-of-15 from three is almost a certain recipe for a loss, or disaster, depending on how serious you take basketball.
Erik Spoelstra – It helps to have LeBron James. But the execution before that was extremely poor, very poor. And he just did what great players do. He was very relaxed, calm, got to a spot where he felt comfortable and shot a great in-rhythm jump shot that made all of us look better.
James finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists while Dwyane Wade was the one who was busier with the ball, leading the team scoring 27 points on 9-of-16 from the field, adding a few more acrobatic shots to his endless bag of career highlights. The Heat are now on a six-game winning streak, even though they’re still far from impressive or dominant for the full 48 minutes. At this stage of the season, they seem to be happy to be within striking distance of the Indiana Pacers and not work too hard to get their wins.
Orlando? They’re now 0-5 on the road, but the return of Glen Davis means there’s reason to feel optimistic. Davis scored 20 points off the bench and will soon find himself in the starting lineup next to Nikola Vucevic in what should be a very good frontcourt duo, at least on offense. For now, the Magic don’t look like they’re bad enough to be the worst in the NBA for a second straight yet, but it’s not quite clear what their thought process is concerning who to keep and who to get rid of during their rebuilding process.