If you thought things were bad for the Miami Heat and their big three after the home collapse against the Orlando Magic, guess how bad after losing by 30, yes 30, their worst defeat of the season, against the San Antonio Spurs, looking broken after taking a walk through the wrong neighborhood. Back East, Orlando didn’t have enough left after their win at Miami and lost to the visiting Chicago Bulls, lead by Derrick Rose.
Lets start with the East. Chicago did their homework on stopping the Magic, stopping Dwight Howard and stopping those long range daggers. Derrick Rose scored 24 points but the real heroes of this game were the guys from the bench. Out of Chicago’s starters, only Carlos Boozer (12 points, 9 rebounds) had a +1 in the +/- category. Bench? Everyone finished with a positive, with Kyle Korver’s time spent on court, including a crucial three that put the game to bed in the fourth, with a +22 and 10 points of his own.
Dwight Howard was frustrated with the Bulls fouling him and got a techincal, his 16th this season that will keep him out of the next game. He finished with 20 points, but it just seemed like the Magic don’t have enough in them to mount up for another comeback. The three’s didn’t fall (6-23, 26.1%) and Hedo Turkoglu had a terrible night, in terrible form anyway, scoring only 2 points in 30 minutes. When the guy that should run your offense plays like that, the Magic won’t go anywhere. Like we’ve said a few times, Dwight Howard can do his thing but willing the entire team to win over and over again against better opponents can’t happen without help.
Chicago? Tough, just tough, and they do enough to win. Derrick Rose is the star here, but even when he’s not hitting, Boozer, Noah and Deng are there, with Deng always there with big shots. Right now, with the Heat facing the kind of problems we’ll soon see, Chicago look like the team most fit to take on Boston for ‘Best in the East’.
Oh Miami. If it wasn’t for the Lakers, the Heat wouldn’t have any wins against Title contenders – Losses to the Celtics, Bulls and Spurs. Just one win over the Lakers, who also seem like the most troubled out of the five, although since the All-Star it’s been better. Back to business.
The Heat didn’t show up and haven’t recovered from their collapse against the Magic, dropping a 24 points lead, losing at home. The San Antonio Spurs, the best team in the league, smelled the blood, and immediatly went for the kill. Tim Duncan said ”game over” to his teammates after the first quarter. Its was 36-12. Tony Parker’s return gave the Spurs even more motivation, but it wasn’t really needed. No Spurs player played more than 28 minutes. Eight players finished with double figures, led by Manu Ginobili and 20 points.
The Heat? Their focus left the building after LeBron James was called for his second charging foul (first whistle? good, second whistle? Bogus). Sabotage? Harsh word, but who knows. The only thing left to be said is that the Heat have lost their swagger, their hustle and any intimidation factor they built a while back. It looks like it’s back to square one, and the playoffs are coming, fast.