(Photo Credit: Jesse Garrabrant)
The Miami HEAT comfortably defeated the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Miami jumped out to an early lead on Philadelphia and never allowed them to close the gap.
Impact Performance of the Night: Chris Bosh dominated the Philadelphia 76ers in his 33 minutes of action Friday night. Bosh finished with 25 points, six rebounds, five blocks, four assists and two steals. He was everywhere and the 76ers had no answer for him on either end of the floor. Bosh hit a few jumpers early to get started and maintained the touch throughout the game Reuniting with the previously injured Mario Chalmers, Bosh had a few really nice finishes in the pick-and-roll. The HEAT hit him with passes moving towards the basket, which led to easy points. Bosh also flashed his passing ability on a sweet give-and-go with Norris Cole and a lob to LeBron James for an alley-oop. Bosh protected the rim, his five blocks a season high. The HEAT’s defense was key to their victory tonight and Bosh’s presence was a big part of that.
The Deciding Run: Miami held a comfortable lead throughout the contest and that was thanks to a quick 11-2 spurt that spanned the final minutes of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter. Miami led the 76ers 29-22 after a Tony Wroten three-pointer. Norris Cole hit a pair of free throws then knocked down a three to get things going for Miami. Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen then Cole again each scored two points and the HEAT’s lead grew to 40-24. The 76ers never threatened the HEAT’s lead again.
Play of the Game: Chris Bosh’s passing was on display tonight, and his high-low pass to LeBron James in the fourth quarter was perfect. Bosh held the ball at the top of the key, behind the three-point line, looking to make a play. When his defender turned for a split second, LeBron James cut to the rim. Bosh delivered the perfect lob and James finished it with fury. Bosh’s passing from the top of the key is often pivotal for the HEAT in getting easy looks for James and Dwyane Wade in the post. Tonight, it was a simple cut from James that opened up an alley-oop opportunity
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 104.3; Defensive Efficiency: 82.5
Trend to Watch: The HEAT looked much better out of the gate, and some of that has to be due to the returns of Shane Battier on Wednesday and Mario Chalmers tonight. The HEAT’s starting five of Chalmers, Wade, James, Battier and Bosh hadn’t played together in since the Warriors game two weeks ago. That group fits very well together and has been the backbone of the HEAT’s last two Championship runs. Battier and Chalmers combined for 23 points, knocking down five three-pointers to space the floor. They also played strong defense, grabbing five steals and blocking a pair of shots. Having them back smoothes out the HEAT rotation, putting all the different layers into place. They improve the HEAT’s defense and free up Norris Cole to be the defensive bulldog on the second unit that gives opponents fits. There will be missed games from players again, but it was nice to see the starting five back on the floor together, beating an opponent with pace and space.
The Takeaway: This win should help wash away some of the three game losing the HEAT were stuck in. They came out early in the game and played well on both ends of the floor to open up a comfortable lead. The movement on offense was very encouraging. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James didn’t score much early on, but that’s because the attention they drew led to open shots for guys along the perimeter. Chris Bosh, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers took care of business, knocking down their open looks. Defensively, the HEAT played very well for most of the night. They recorded 13 steals, their first double digit total in two weeks and set a season high in blocks with 12. These are usually indicators that the HEAT defense is clicking. With the main rotation back in place, the defensive rotations were much sharper. The 76ers couldn’t get anything to the rim in the early going and the HEAT were strongly contesting every jumper. This was just the kind of performance the HEAT needed to have.
Notes: LeBron James finished with 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Shane Battier and Norris Cole scored 13 points apiece. Chris Andersen and Toney Douglas were inactive.