(Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon)
The Miami HEAT defeated the Washington Wizards 103-93 Sunday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. The HEAT jumped out to an early lead and pulled away late in the third quarter. The HEAT return to action Tuesday night in Toronto where they face the Raptors.
Impact Performance of the Night: Everyone on the HEAT played well tonight, but Mario Chalmers’ play, especially early, was the catalyst the HEAT offense needed. After slow starts on the road, the HEAT scored 33 points in the first quarter. Chalmers had four assists in the period, and his playmaking was able to break the Wizards defense down. He only scored six points in the game, but Chalmers’ presence was felt on the offensive end.
The Deciding Run: The HEAT held a 13 point lead in the third quarter with 4:18 remaining. The HEAT had been able to keep the Wizards just out of reach, but were unable to deliver the knockout punch. A quick 10-0 run, punctuated by a Norris Cole three-pointer, gave the HEAT a 23 point lead that served as enough of a cushion to seal the win.
Play of the Game: Rather than focus on one specific play, we’ll highlight the HEAT’s consistent ability to generate open looks from the corners. Last season the HEAT’s offense flourished when they were able to get clean looks for shooters in the corners. Tonight, the HEAT shot 12 corner three’s, making five. The only way to get these looks is through attacking and good ball movement. That the HEAT were able to get 12 attempts shows that the ball was popping for the offense, constantly finding the open man.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 113.3; Defensive Efficiency: 100.0
Trend to Watch: The HEAT’s offense was excellent for most of the game, only slowing down once the game was out of reach. The HEAT generated a bunch of open looks at the rim and from beyond the arc. This was the direct result of well-timed cuts and passes. Dwyane Wade was excellent cutting to the rim, catching the defense off guard a handful of times. When the defense accounted for drivers and slashers, the perimeter opened up and shooters were able to take advantage. Not every game will see only five unassisted baskets, but the ball movement exhibited was a nice step forward for the HEAT. Seeing it begin with the starting unit was most encouraging, as they had struggled to get high-value looks the last two games.
The Takeaway: This was exactly the kind of performance the HEAT needed after two straight losses. They got off to a good start in the first quarter, shared the ball on offense and locked down on defense. Only once the game was out of hand did the Wizards get open looks. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James were all very efficient with their touches. All three players scored at least 20 points while also assisting on two or more baskets. Rashard Lewis provided valuable minutes off the bench, as did Norris Cole, who continues to play well early in the season. As with any other November game, it’s tough to place much long-term significance in the performance, but it was a step in the right direction for the HEAT.
Notes: The HEAT assisted on 32 of their 37 made field goals, the highest percentage of assisted field goals since the 2010-11 season. Nine of the HEAT’s ten players to see action recorded an assist. Roger Mason Jr. and Greg Oden were inactive.