(Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann)
The Miami HEAT took care of business Tuesday night, knocking off the Boston Celtics 93-86 at AmericanAirlines Arena. The HEAT closed the game on a big run to secure the team's third win in four games.
Impact Performance of the Night: LeBron James led the HEAT to victory Tuesday night, scoring 29 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four assists. On a night where offense was hard to come by, James was able to create a number of shots for himself. James only hit one field goal in the fourth quarter, but his relentless attacking led to 11 free throw attempts. He made nine of those shots and was able to keep the HEAT out in front.
The Deciding Run: Boston held an 86-84 lead with 2:32 left in the game before LeBron James drew a foul on Jared Sullinger. James hit a pair of free throws to tie things up for Miami. On the next possession Ray Allen hit an off balance look to give the HEAT a lead they would never relinquish. In the end, the HEAT closed the game on a 9-0 to grab a victory on the second night of a back-to-back.
Play of the Game: Greg Oden appeared in his third game of the season tonight, which is important in its own right. His post defense has been strong and he’s deterred a number of shot attempts but he had yet to block a shot at the rim. Oden cleared that hurdle late in the second quarter. Jeff Green, one of the most explosive players in the league, turned a corner and had a lane to the rim. He elevated for a slam dunk attempt and it looked like he had a chance before Oden came across to play help defense. Oden timed his leap perfectly and he stuffed Green’s dunk attempt at its highest point. It was a reminder of what Oden is capable of adding to the HEAT.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 105.6; Defensive Efficiency: 92.6
Trend to Watch: Chris Bosh’s growth as a three-point shooter has been a big addition to the HEAT offense over the last few seasons. Bosh has had a few mini slumps this season from beyond the arc, but he has been very solid over the last month or so. Bosh went 2-of-3 from three-point range against the Celtics and was the only HEAT player to have multiple makes from downtown. Defenses are keying on the HEAT’s three-point shooters, so it is Bosh who is finding himself open along the perimeter. He’s made teams pay the last five games, finishing with multiple makes in four of those contests. Over that stretch, Bosh is shooting 10-of-21 from three, boosting the HEAT attack. Late in the first half the HEAT maintained possession after Greg Oden drew a foul on the offensive glass. Miami has been one of the better teams out of timeouts the last few seasons and tonight Coach Erik Spoelstra drew up a play for Bosh. What looked to be like the typical end of quarter set that frees Ray Allen along the wing was actually a play for Bosh. Allen caught the pass from LeBron James on the right wing and turned to fire a pass to Bosh at the top of the key. Bosh nailed the jumper and gave the HEAT an 11 point lead heading into the break. Those kinds of plays are not drawn up for most big men and it speaks to Bosh’s shooting ability that the HEAT went to it when they wanted a bucket with a short clock.
The Takeaway: The game was far from perfect, but on the second night of a back-to-back on the night after the conclusion of a six game road trip, that doesn’t really matter. The HEAT played better defense than they had the last week or so and were able to force enough misses late to get the victory. LeBron James was ultra aggressive in the fourth quarter and the Celtics had no answer for him or his forays to the rim. Chris Andersen was excellent off the bench in big minutes, giving the HEAT 13 points and seven rebounds on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting. Greg Oden looked good in his five minutes and it’s clear that his comfort level is rising on the floor. Yes, the HEAT let an 18 point lead slip away and actually trailed briefly in the fourth quarter, but they were able to buckle down and string together stops and good offensive possessions at the end of the game. Now, the HEAT get to remain in Miami for a week and have ample time for rest and practice. There hasn’t been much of either these last few weeks, so it will be a nice change of pace.
Notes: Chris Bosh finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Dwyane Wade and Toney Douglas were inactive.