The title of the story may be confusing, but there is no mistake.
Norris Cole, the highly touted rookie from Cleveland State, scored an incredible 14 points in the fourth quarter to help Miami close out the fast finishing Celtics.
Cole was fearless in crunch time, making plays at both ends of the court and never panicking, despite at times being asked to bail Miami out late in the shot clock. I do not wish to delve any deeper into Cole’s game or the player he promises to become because I wish to write a separate piece on him which I will do later today, so we’ll move onto the other positives for the Heat.
Again for 3 – 3.5 quarters Miami were at their absolute best, making defensive stops, getting out in transition and balancing that successfully with intelligent spacing when in a half court set. James and Wade were picking the Celtics apart on the fast break but looking equally as comfort when asked to back down defenders or play the new spaced offense that has been integrated by Spoelstra this season.
LeBron James finished with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, shooting an efficient 9/14 from the field and 8/9 from the line. Dwyane Wade had 24 points, 8 assists and 4 blocks.
I will openly admit I have been one of the harshest critics of Chris Bosh, only because I was such a fan of his at Toronto and I was so disappointed at basically his entire debut season with the Heat. I thought he would be the difference maker and the most important player on the team. Nonetheless Bosh bounced back in a big way against the Celtics, following a hugely disappointing 4 point game on opening day in Dallas.
Bosh finished with a grinding 19 points, but more importantly pulled down a tough 11 boards against one of the best interior teams in the league. Bosh gave us a glimpse of the three point shot he has been walking on over the summer, and he hit his only attempt from down town.
There were two big blemishes on the game for me personally. One, that there were far too many turnovers. Mario Chalmers had his worst game I have seen in a Heat jersey, and he was the main culprit, but the team as a whole were far too careless in possession and that needs to be addressed.
The other problem for me was the Heat slipping into auto-pilot in the fourth quarter for the second time. In both the Mavericks game and too the Celtics game, Miami blew their opponent off the court in the first three quarters of the game. Yet when the fourth quarter came around, for whatever reason both Dallas and Boston were able to go on big runs and greatly disservice the difference between the teams with a closer scoreline. Whilst at no real point during either game did I think Miami would lose, and the fact we are only two games in and they played two very good opponents, there was something unsettling in that. I am not so sure what Spoelstra is doing with the rotation just yet, leaving LeBron out for the majority of the second and a lot of the fourth quarters when he was having a strong game. Wade received similar peculiar rotational treatment.
Nonetheless Miami were largely impressive in the home opener and were able to add further distance between themselves and the ageing, declining Boston Celtics.