Last night featured a clash between the best and the worst in the East. Despite LeBron James’ triple-double, the Miami Heat were forced to admit defeat against the Washington Wizards, with the final score of 101-105.
After the game, LeBron James had the following to say to the media:
“I think in the first half we gave up too much. We gave up 60 points in the first half and let them get into their offense relatively easy and they got comfortable. I think in the second half we played our style of basketball we got stops and great looks. It was just on the other side this time, the shots we are accustomed to making didn’t fall for us.”
“We understand teams are going to play better when they play against us. They’re up for it and we have to be up for teams as well.”
The 2012 NBA MVP hit the nail right on the head by saying that the team gave up too much in the first two quarters. Conceding 60 points in a half against a team, which ranks 29th in the league offensively is, simply put, unacceptable for the NBA champions. Miami’s defense has looked out of place all season, as the team ranks 21st in the league in opponents points scored.
Shane Battier is out with an injury and this has left the Heat’s defense even more exposed. But it’s not only the defense that has looked erratic for the Heat. Much like James indicated, the Heat have to be up for the challenge every single night. While most teams give their best efforts against the Heat, Miami has played only as good as their opposition in most games this season.
There is no way the Spurs’ reserves should have even been close to beating the Heat, but Miami has collectively looked uninterested in a lot of games this season. The ultimate goal is obviously the playoffs and it is understandable that the Heat are not particularly concerned at this point in time, but it is important not to get complacent.
Miami is ranked 2nd in the league in points per game, so the team’s offense is flowing well. After the game Dwyane Wade said: “It’s the kind of game we have been playing, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary for us.”. Wade is completely right and the Heat will need to make sure to not make a habit out of trying to outscore their opponents.
Mario Chalmers left the game with a finger injury in the second quarter, and since Norris Cole was already out with a strained hamstring and groin, Miami had to finish the game without two of their point guards.
Despite missing a go-ahead and a game-tying 3-pointer down the stretch, LeBron James had a triple-double for the Heat, with 26 points, 11 assists and 13 rebounds. Bosh added a double-double with 20 points and 12 boards, while Wade contributed with 24 points.
Jordan Crawford led the way for the Wizards with 22 points. Kevin Seraphin had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Miami will try to rebound after this loss on Thursday, as they host the New York Knicks. Meanwhile, the Wizards will travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks on Friday.
Miami now falls to 12-4, which is good enough for a tied 2nd place in the Eastern conference. The Wizards move up to 2-13, and are picking up pace after an abysmal start to the season.
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