(Photo Credit: Rocky Widner)
The Miami HEAT fell 108-103 to the Sacramento Kings Friday night at Sleep Train Arena, snapping their six-game winning streak. The HEAT's 19 game winning streak against the Western Conference was also snapped. Miami heads to Portland for a game Saturday night.
Impact Performance of the Night: DeMarcus Cousins was a monster for the Sacramento Kings against the HEAT. He dominated the paint offensively and finished the game with 27 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. Miami just couldn’t find an answer for Cousins down low. He got to the rim on numerous occasions on simple post ups. When he didn’t get a shot at the rim it’s because he was fouled, he took a game-high 10 free throws. Cousins is very skilled and it was on display tonight. Isaiah Thomas and Rudy each played quite well, but Cousins was the driving force.
The Deciding Run: The HEAT led the Kings 89-85 with just over a minute left. From there, the Kings blew past the HEAT on a 17-5 run to finish the fourth quarter and begin the overtime frame. Sacramento scored at will and the HEAT couldn’t get shots to fall. LeBron James snapped the run with a flurry of three-pointers, but it was too late to save the game for the HEAT.
Play of the Game: With the 89-85 lead, the HEAT defense forced a tough three at the end of the shot clock. Chris Bosh blocked the three-point attempt from Isaiah Thomas, but Mario Chalmers committed a flagrant foul on Demarcus Cousins. Cousins made both free throws and Rudy Gay added a jumper, making it a four-point possession. It tied things up late for the Kings and gave them a chance to win.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 95.2; Defensive Efficiency: 100.9
Trend to Watch: The HEAT surrendered 60 points in the paint against the Kings. The same issues the HEAT had with the Kings last week popped up again tonight. Rotations were a touch slow and the result was a bunch of Kings looks at the rim. The HEAT were shorthanded tonight and had to play a number of rarely used lineups, but the miscommunications aren’t something we see often from the HEAT. Tomorrow night the HEAT face a tough Blazers team that features a low-post player in LaMarcus Aldridge and a strong shot creator in Damian Lillard. If the HEAT make the same mistakes against the Blazers, they’ll give up a lot of points in the paint again. Whenever the HEAT hit little skids like this on the defensive end, they usually clean it up fairly quickly. They’ll have to do that tomorrow night to get the win in a tough environment against a championship contender.
The Takeaway: That was a tough loss for Miami. A win was well within reach with less than two minutes left to play in regulation. The HEAT offense got stagnant in the second half and the defense committed a number of errors that led to easy points for the Kings. These losses happen over the course of an 82-game season, though, and they can lead to good things. The HEAT will take the film from tonight’s game and get to work immediately to correct the issues they find. Still, it’s important to remember that the team was playing on the road without three key rotation players. It was hardly an easy situation.
Notes: LeBron James led the HEAT with 33 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Chris Bosh added 18 points and seven rebounds. Norris Cole added 13 points off the bench. Greg Oden and Dwyane Wade were inactive.