It's looking like no one else wants to do a game wrap, so I'll step to the plate. Depressing though it was, the Miami Heat come to town but once a year, and it ought to be commemorated somehow, even if it's just a bunch of half baked bullet points with no over-arching narrative, pictures, or formatting. Now we have a place to put our Heat game notes, so that they won't interfere with our Kahn-bashing in the pseudo game wrap that Stop-n-Pop wrote.
I was in the building last night. Love him or hate him, LeBron James will go down as a top 10 player of all time, and the opportunity to see him in his absolute prime is not one to be missed. Now if only we had a team that forced him to try hard. He never really left cruise-control en route to 27/6/10.
There was a sizable turnout, as you'd expect. Plenty of Heat "fans," but not in quite-so-embarrassing numbers as there are for the Celtics and Lakers. By the way, who are these people? I've never met one, but clearly they exist. What kind of a person just attaches themselves to whichever team is winning? How do they justify it to themselves? A guy sitting behind me made a point of voicing his support of the Heat after every single event, like we'd forget if he took a possession off. It's akin to a 5 year old sticking his tongue out at his fellow kindergartner, but these are adults!
To their credit, the Target Center entertainment made a point of ridiculing this phenomenon, using a "Bandwagon fan cam" during one break and having a fake blindfolded dance off competition where a guy in a Heat jersey under the impression he is competing against two other blindfolded dancers was made to dance at center court while Crunch, Mike Rylander, and everyone else walked off the court, leaving him alone to eventually remove the blindfold and walk off in shame. It was undoubtedly staged, but well executed and entertaining nonetheless.
Unsustainably good 3 point shooting helped us carry a lead into halftime, and the place was rocking, in no small part because we knew we had to savor it then because it wouldn't hold. The high point was a sequence that started when Love blocked Wade, corralled the ball, and sent it to Ridnour. Ridnour promptly turned over to LeBron, who went flying in the other direction with a full head of steam, only Tolliver (3 charges in the game and this wasn't one of them) got in position way too early. LeBron had elavated but realized there was this guy in the way and he was too far from the hoop still to dunk it, so it turned into a weird drop kick sort of maneuver, with no foul call either way. The ball squirted out, the Wolves recovered and got a fast-break 3 point play from Wes that would tie the game, as LeBron watched from a seated position at the other end of the court.
To borrow a Kahnism, who could have anticipated how bad the 3rd quarter would be? 25 - 1 was the run. For the first nine and a half minutes, the only Wolves "stops" were careless Miami turnovers. From the start of the quarter to the 2:00 mark, the Heat scored on 15 of 17 possessions in which they attempted a shot. Game over.
It's clear in person why the Heat are good, but not nearly as good as I thought they'd be. Their role players are terrible. The ball would be snapping around, our defense on its heels, and suddenly it would find an open Erick Dampier standing 6 feet from the hoop, and he literally can't. do. anything. They failed this year, but I'll stand by my prediction that they'll win 70+ some season, if they can just get some young competent players.
On a related note, I'll actually give Rambis some credit. Against a team with terrible big men, we had two options for how to exploit it. We could either go big and try to exploit the mismatch our center had over said terrible bigs, or we could go small, playing a PF at C, knowing that they didn't have the personnel to exploit it. Rambis resisted the urge to run Darko isos into oblivion and instead realized that his best players all play power forward, and this was an opportunity to have more than one of them on the court without being punished for it. Or maybe Darko got hurt again and the decision was made for him. Who the hell knows?
A while back I complained about Rambis had Wes Johnson take (and miss) a technical foul free throw when he was literally the worst free throw shooter of the five Wolves on the floor. I guess Spoelstra is dumb too. Mike Bibby has made 63.2% of his free throws this season. Spoelstra had him take the free throw instead of career 86% free throw shooter James Jones, and he missed, of course. So we're clear, if your choices to shoot a technical free throw are 10-11 Mike Bibby and 04-05 Dwight Howard, the correct choice is 04-05 Dwight Howard.
The Kevin Love I know doesn't play 36 minutes and register only 7 rebounds. He's either still hurt or checked out, and I wouldn't blame him for either.
What better way to conclude the post than with this video. That's our team.
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