Recap: Heat vs. Lakers

The NBA is a game where, at anytime, a struggling team can play well enough to beat one of the league’s top level teams. That happened last night as the Lakers took down the Heat 102-100 in overtime. The Lakers were carried offensively by Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, with Randle hitting the game-winner that kept Miami in 4th place instead of jumping ahead of the Hawks in the eastern conference standings. The Heat were led by Wade with 26 points and a huge game from Whiteside, who finished with 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 blocks. Luol Deng had 22.

Miami missed a major opportunity against a team they should have crushed. That has been a pattern the past few games as they have let these sub-par teams hang around long enough to gain confidence. Lucky for them, though, they were at home in those games. This time, LA was fueled by their home crowd and was able to get the victory. Let’s look at the 3 keys.

  1. Do your thing: Miami should have put up at least 110. Instead, their 17 turnovers, 18% three-point percentage, and 58% free throw percentage hampered them in a big way. They got lazy at times and did not put the pedal to the medal against the Lakers.
  2. Keep Wade going: They did a great job of keeping Wade on a roll. The only problem was that most of the other guys forgot to go with him. Deng and Whiteside followed, but everyone else had a rough night. Dragic had 11 points and 9 assists, but was only 5-14 from the floor with 4 turnovers.
  3. Own the glass: Miami won the rebounding battle 55-49, but LA had 19 offensive rebounds, including 6 from Roy Hibbert. Offensive rebounds are extra possessions and may as well have been turnovers.

This game was a tough loss, but it should never have gone to overtime, let alone have been close. There lies the difference between a good team and a great teams. Good teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat. No excuses here. The Heat can, however, redeem themselves tomorrow night against the Kings!

GO HEAT!

 

Preview: Heat vs. Lakers

The Miami Heat take the road tonight to face the Lakers at the Staples Center! In what is the last matchup ever between Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade (Although Kobe will not be playing as of right now), the surging Heat will seek to gain another win against the reeling Lakers. The Lakers have a lot of young talent on their roster, but have far too much youth that can no longer be carried by the aging Bryant. The Heat are a collective threat that features many player capable of having big nights. In their last game, it was Wade and Whiteside. Other times, it has been Luol Deng or Goran Dragic. Other times, it has been Joe Johnson. Long story short, the Lakers will have problems.

Here are the 3 keys.

  1. Do your thing: If I’m the Heat, I am looking to score the ball and look for open guys. The Lakers are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, so Miami should have no problem putting up points.
  2. Keep Wade going: With Dragic out again, Wade will have the ball in his hands a lot. None of the Lakers’ guards can guard him, therefore, he should have a huge night. Unfortunately, he won’t be going at Kobe, but that is unfortunate for whoever does have to guard Wade.
  3. Own Glass: Who doesn’t rebound well? The Lakers don’t. Miami should absolutely demolish them on the boards with Whiteside in the mix. Besides the immobile Roy Hibbert, LA has no size down low which translate to low rebounding numbers.

Miami has to win this game to keep pace with the Hawks. There is no room for complacency. They have to focus on ending this game early so they can move on to the next game.

GO HEAT!

Recap: Heat vs. Nets

The Miami Heat took down the Brooklyn Nets last night 110-99 inside American Airlines Arena!

The win kept the Heat even with Atlanta in the loss column and also gave them a 3-1 season series win over the Nets. Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside spearheaded the Heat attack with 30 points and 27 points respectively. The Heat also got a boost from their two rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson. Brooklyn played them pretty well and made a game out of it up until the end of the third quarter, and then Whiteside emerged in the fourth. He caught 3 lobs in a row and just destroyed Brooklyn to the point where he was the only source of offense the Heat needed for a few minutes.

Let’s see how the Heat did with the 3 keys.

  1. Turn it up: The Heat had 72 points in the paint, 110 points overall, and shot 57%. You could say they played a beautiful offensive game. Everyone was attacking and everyone made sure to move the ball to look for good shots.
  2. Stop Brook: Lopez had 26 points, but only had 4 rebounds, so he was not much of a factor in the game. The up-tempo pace did leave him looking fatigued at points, which played into Miami’s hands.
  3. Get Wade going: They did just that. He hurt them from the mid-range and in the paint. He also led some fast breaks and got pretty much whatever he wanted shot-wise. He ended up with 30 points in perhaps his best offensive performance of the season.

The Heat now begin a 3-day trip to Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Portland. They have the ability to win all three games, but they need to be focused and take care of business.

GO HEAT!

No Fly Zone: Sports Writers….Again

The No Fly Zone, where telling someone they look good is an insult.

So here we are again, LeBron James does something and everyone starts eating it up. The Cavs were playing in Miami (a game in which they got destroyed) and James was seen goofing off with his best friend, Dwyane Wade, during halftime. The Cavs were currently down by a big margin, and unfortunately for them, it got bigger.

After the game, there were many reports and articles written berating James for not focusing more an warming up. Coach Tyronn Lue even had some words for his star. Then all of the “LeBron is coming back” stories started swirling around (These are the times that Brian Windhorst usually makes an appearance).

Are you all really that bored? I mean if this is making headlines, then your jobs must really suck. Like do you just sit around and pick your noses while waiting for something this pointless to happen? Give me a break.

For those who said LeBron might return to Miami, get over it because the rest of Miami already has. Those of you who took shots at LeBron’s work ethic, really think about what you’re saying. This man who has 4 MVP’s, 2 titles, and countless All-Star appearances doesn’t work hard? Yeah, okay.

 

 

Preview: Heat vs. Nets

The Miami Heat are in South Beach tonight to do battle with the Brooklyn Nets!

In a matchup of two teams at opposite ends of the conference, the Heat look to continue their winning ways at home against a Nets team that has really struggled this year. It will be an interesting game for Joe Johnson, since he spent three and a half seasons with the team. Miami is beginning to get it health back to normal, other than the situation surrounding Chris Bosh and his possible return for the playoffs. Brooklyn, on the other hand, is most likely headed for a summer of moving players and trying to sign big names because their management is not in the mood for a rebuild just yet.

Here are the 3 keys.

  1. Turn it up: The Nets are one of the slowest teams in the league, mostly due to their offense revolving around Brook Lopez down low. The Heat’s style will definitely make it hard for the Nets to defend them because their are not many great wing defenders on their team that can keep up with Miami’s wings.
  2. Stop Brook: Brook Lopez is averaging 25 points over his last three games, so the Heat need to keep the ball out of his hands and make someone else beat them. With Whiteside playing as well as he has recently, his length and strength combined with Stoudemire’s quickness should give Lopez different defensive looks and hopefully give him some issues.
  3. Get Wade going: Wade needs to get going against these guys. His highest scoring average comes against Brooklyn, and they don’t have anyone that can consistently stop him. He needs to go into mid-range assassin mode and be aggressive on offense.

The Nets have played well over their past 2-3 games and are looking to play spoiler for Miami tonight, so the Heat need to come out focused and ready for a fight.

GO HEAT!

 

Happy Birthday Justise Winslow

It may be a day late, but the High Flyers would like to wish Heat rookie, Justise Winslow, a happy 20th birthday!

The 6’7 forward out of Duke has had a pretty stellar rookie season so far. After being drafted 10th overall by Miami, experts said that he may not be able to make an impact due to his lack of range on his shot. However, he quickly showed that he did not need to be an offensive threat to make a name for himself. Over the course of this year, Winslow has carved a niche for himself as a perimeter defender and consistent rebounder for the Heat. His muscular frame allows him to guard bigger players and contend for rebounds, while his athleticism gives him the ability to guard smaller guards. He is currently averaging 6 points this year, but his rebounding numbers (about 5 per game) are better then most guys who play his position. He does not need to be a scorer yet, and besides, he is only 20, so he has plenty of time to  develop his scoring.

Defense is something that s very hard to teach. It is more than just quickness. It is an instinct and intelligence that makes a great defender. Winslow has shown signns of being a great defender, and playing for a team like Miami that is built on defense is a great place to be for him. I like forward to seeing how he develops in the future.

GO HEAT!

Recap: Heat vs. Magic

Your Miami Heat took down the Orlando Magic last night with a 108-97 victory that gave Miami a 2-0 series lead this season. Hassan Whiteside dominated the paint with a big 26 point and 12 rebound double. Goran Dragic put on a great performance with 22 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals. Josh Richardson and Amar’e Stoudemire continued their fine form with 14 and 13 points respectively. Dwyane Wade only had 11 points, but they did not really need him down the stretch as they had the game in hand and also to begin preparing him for the playoffs where he will get more minutes.

Orlando played well and even had the lead at halftime, but a 31-12 third quarter gave Miami all of the momentum and allowed them a good cushion for the rest of the game. let’s see how the Heat did with the 3 keys.

  1. Take your shots: The Heat did just that. They shot 50% from the field, but could have shot even better. Sometimes, though, the shots just don’t go in. The heat also did a good job of not taking bad shots. Watching the film, the Heat moved the ball very crisply and were very patient when running their offense.
  2. Paint points galore: The Heat once again destroyed their opponent down low with 62 points in the paint. They were led by Whiteside, who seemed to be left open for lobs almost every play.
  3. Get out and run: I sometime forget that is their system now, and they did a great job yesterday. They only had 12 fast break points, but a lot of their offense came from up-tempo, quick-strike baskets going into the paint.

With this win, the Heat moved into a tie with the Celtics for 4th in the East (the Celtics own the tie-breaker) and a half game behind the Hawks for 3rd place. They next host the Brooklyn Nets in yet another must-win game.

GO HEAT!

 

Preview: Heat vs. Magic (March 25, 2016)

The Miami Heat are back home tonight to take on the Orlando Magic!

The Heat are in a 4-way battle for third place in the East along with the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, and the Atlanta Hawks. In order to stay in contention, Miami cannot afford to lose this game to an Orlando team that has been really up and down this year. Early on, they looked like a possible playoff team, but a horrid stretch during January shot down those hopes.

Miami won the previous meeting in Orlando on December 26, but they, like Orlando, are a different team. They are a much better team, so they are favored to win this one. Here are the 3 keys.

  1. Take your shots: The Magic are not a great defensive team, and even allow opponents to shoot over 45% on average. Miami should not have too much trouble getting their shots and, with how they’ve shot recently, that should be a good sign.
  2. Paint points galore: Vucevic and Illyasova are out, so guys like Dragic and Wade should NOT settle for jumpers. Also, Whiteside needs to own the paint when he checks in. I don’t see anyone on the Magic that can give them too much trouble down low.
  3. Get out and run: They have the means to do so and Orlando does not do a good job of getting back, so Miami needs to take advantage. Dragic should be looking to race down the court at every opportunity because none of Orlando’s guards can stay with him.

As always, the Heat need to put them away early, but I don’t think they will have a big issue doing that.

GO HEAT!

Recap: Heat vs. Spurs

Last night was pretty rough for the Miami Heat. They faced a Spurs team that proved why they are favorites to win the championship and why they may be the only team that can beat the Warriors. The Spurs did it the way they have done it for the past two decades, and that is by moving the ball and making everyone a threat. The final score was 112-88, but it was a third quarter outburst by the Spurs that really put the game away as they outscored Miami by sixteen in the period.

Some of the good news to take away was that Josh Richardson continued his solid play and Hassan Whiteside racked up yet another double-double. The Spurs starters did not do too much (except for Leonard), but it was the bench that really hurt Miami. Let’s see how they did with the 3 keys.

  1. Watch for Leonard and Aldridge: Aldridge was not a huge factor, but Leonarrd poured in 32 points to lead the Spurs attack. He was hurting them from everywhere and showed why he is the Spurs’ best player.
  2. Attack the point guards: Dragic only had 4 points and ad 6 turnovers. He did not play well in this game and his inability to really get into the thick of things hurt Miami’s usually high-powered offense.
  3. Play tough defense: The Spurs were hot last night. They shot 52% for the game, which included 57% from downtown. Hard to beat a team when they shoot the ball that well.

In the end, the Spurs were just a better team in this game. Play it again, and I think the Heat play a lot better and have a chance to win. They matchup pretty well with the Spurs, but just had an off night. They next play host to the Orlando Magic in a game they need to win.

GO HEAT!

Top 5 Teams (Individual season)

Today, I will be talking about my top 5 teams of all-time. I take into account not only their for that season record, but also the competition they faced and how they fared against said competition. Before you ask, the Warriors will not be on the list since their season is still in progress.

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5. 1970-1971 Milwaukee Bucks

  • These guys knew how to put up points! They featured a young and fresh Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and a veteran walking triple-double in Oscar Robertson. They finished the season at 66-16 and went on to sweep the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA Finals. Led by head coach Larry Costello, the Bucks revolved around a high-powered offense with a great supporting cast for their two stars that included Bob Dandridge, Jon McGlocklin, Greg Smith, and Dick Cunningham. It would be the first and only championship for the Big O, but the beginning of a great career for Kareem as he took home MVP  honors for the season.

 

4. 1985-1986 Boston Celtics

  • So are you surprised to see a Larry Bird team on here? Of course not. Sporting a 65-win season that included a 40-1 record at the Boston Garden, the Celtics just overpowered opponents with their great combination of players. The rotation featured Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish as the starters. Here’s an awesome fact, BILL WALTON was the sixth man, and won the Sixth Man of the Year award! Larry Bird took home another MVP award and the Finals MVP after taking down the Houston Rockets in six games.

 

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3. 1986-1987 Los Angeles Lakers

  • This team was loaded. They had four guys who scored over 1,000 points in coach Pat Riley’s “showtime” offense. This team featured the great Magic Johnson, verstile swingman Byron Scott, all-around forward James Worthy, and the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. After winning 65 games in the regular season, the Lakers went on to win the NBA Finals over the defending champion Celtics in what would be the final time that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird would meet in the postseason. What made these Lakers so good was that they had so many weapons, which allowed them to just run all over opponents. That is why they come in at number three.

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2. 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 33 games. That’s how many they won IN A ROW at one point. Spearheaded by the great Bill Sharman as head coach, the Lakers of 1972 set a then record with 69 regular season wins. The team was led by Hall of Famers Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, and Wilt Chamberlain. The supporting cast included Jim McMillan, Happy Hairston, and none other than future coach Pat Riley. I mean these guys steamrolled some of their opponents on their way to  a 5-game series win of the Knicks in the NBA finals to bring Los Angeles it’s first ever basketball championship.

 

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  1. 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls
  • You probably could have seen it going this way. Let me put it this way, they had the Coach of the Year (Phil Jackson), the best rebounder (Dennis Rodman), the best perimeter defender (Scottie Pippen), the Sixth Man of the Year (Toni Kukoc), and the Most Valuable Player (Michael Jordan). With those guys as the focal points, the Bulls used a supporting cast of guys like Ron Harper, Luc Longley, and Steve Kerr to run the famous triangle offense and pick apart opponents with their ball and player movement. I also consider this one of the best defensive teams in league history. They currently hold the best regular season record of 72-10 and the best total season record of 87-13.