Dwyane Wade showed just how dangerous he still is at the age of 34. No longer the high-flyer who attacked the rim at will, but instead was the mid-range assassin we have come to know in this later stage of his career. His 24 points helped the Miami Heat take down the New Orleans 113-99 in a game that put Miami half a game ahead of Atlanta for the third spot in the Eastern conference. Hassan Whiteside continued his stellar play with a 24 point and 14 rebound double-double, not to mention his 3 blocks that added onto to his league-high tally. Goran Dragic poured in 21 points, while Amar’e Stoudemire contributed beautifully with 16 points and 9 rebounds, including 5 on the offensive end.
The Pelicans, playing without a good chunk of their normal rotation, looked outmatched for most of the game, but were able to get the 22-point deficit down to 5 in the fourth quarter, but the combo of Wade and Whiteside put those hopes to rest. Let’s see how they did with the 3 keys.
- Attack the offensive glass: The Heat grabbed 14 offensive rebounds as part of the 53-42 edge on the glass. Whiteside and Stoudemire both grabbed 5 offensive board, which showed just how much more athletic the Heat bigs were.
- Don’t play down: The Heat did a great job of hitting the Pelicans early. They built a 22-point first half deficit that really knocked New Orleans back on their heels. Miami did get a little sloppy in the fourth quarter, but it was the great first half that really jump-started them.
- Attack the rim: The Pelicans only had one block, so Miami was able to attack the paint or the short-range just outside the paint for most of the game. They tallied 5o paint points led by Wade, Whiteside, and Dragic. They were also able to get a number of Pelicans into foul trouble.
All in all, Miami did what they were supposed to do and got the W. That is what has to be done for the rest of the year. Other than games against San Antonio, Portland, and Boston, Miami has a fairly favorable schedule to finish out the year. They meet the Magic three times, the Nets and Lakers once, and the Bulls once. The last game against Boston may or may not determine some seeding in the East.