Saturday, January 21st, 2012

LeBron, Bosh, lead the Miami Heat back from the Dead against the San Antonio Spurs

Published on January 18, 2012 by Anthony Carriuolo   ·   No Comments

In one of the most complete (one half) performances all season, the Miami Heat dispatched the San Antonio Spurs in riveting fashion. Riding an incredible third quarter led by Miami Heat SF LeBron James with his 17 points, the Miami Heat were able to overcome a dismal first half and the absence of SG Dwyane Wade to win in glorious fashion. The San Antonio Spurs are one of the best scoring teams in the NBA even though San Antonio Spurs PF Tim Duncan is clearly at the tail end of his career. The Miami Heat guards collapsed the paint far too early, leaving shooters wide open from outside. The Miami Heat also left one too many baseline layups and backdoor movements open, making the 63 point outburst for San Antonio an easy half.

LeBron James scored 33 and Miami Heat PF Chris Bosh added 30. One of the most exciting points in the game was the return of Miami Heat G/F Mike Miller, who sat out an early portion of the season once again. Last seasonhe came back from a broken thumb, Miller shot 0% against the Dallas Mavericks on December 20th 2010 and missed frequently from deep, leaving a lot to be desired from his less than average season. At times, Mike Miller was there to spark the Heat off the bench in the playoffs, but he was never consistent.

Mike Miller returned with a bang.

Miller shot 6-6 from deep, scoring 18 points off the bench. The Heat have shown a more complete bench this season with additions like rookie PG Norris Cole, longtime shooter G/F James Jones, and now Mike Miller showing their game and earning their stripes on this years team. Even with the bench emphatically providing a more than necessary boost, with Miller’s return something to excite Heat fans all week, there is a bigger story to derive from this game.

Winning against a very good San Antonio Spurs team at home does not exorcise the demons of a three game losing streak against the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, and a truly depressing loss to a seemingly inferior Golden State Warriors team. There was no reason to lose to any of those teams even without Dwyane Wade.

LeBron James took his biggest knock against him and turned it upside down. Just when his team and his fans needed him most, he defended, scored and facilitated to the point where he was not even required to play at all in the fourth quarter. James took a 14 point deficit at the half and by the end of three had a 15 point lead. That margin might be the biggest the Heat have outscored their opponents in a quarter in years.

Even though LeBron James was the very reason the Heat won this game, the accomplishments of Chris Bosh cannot be understated. Bosh answered each basket late in the second quarter, scoring a few easy baskets late in those moments, that kept a 14 point lead for San Antonio from ballooning into a 20 point lead, or worse. Bosh has shown this year that while he may never have the paint warring ability of a Celtics PF Kevin Garnett, or a Timberwolves PF Kevin Love, but he has shown a fantastic quickness coupled with the bulk to take jarring fouls in the paint and finish. Bosh also had his jump shot striking, shooting over 50%. Bosh accounted for some real highlights in the game, showing his scoring ability and star power can be called upon when needed, and that he is more than capable of incredible plays himself.

Of course, one game does not atone for a season plus of a lack of clutch play from LeBron, or a long reputation for Bosh that he cannot play rough and tumble basketball, but it is a step in the right direction, one that will pave the way for the future.

The win last night was one of those marquee wins that sparks a run into the plains of ferocious victory. Remember, the Heat were 9-8 before December of 2010.

The rest is history.


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