So far it’s good to be home if you’re the Miami Heat this NBA season.
After a tough road loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers the Heat hoped to get back on track tonight against the Houston Rockets at American Airlines Arena. The game was a tale of two different halves that had the Heat down as much as 21 points before a furious comeback got the team a hard earned 109-89 win. Now a look at the good, bad, and highlights of the night for Miami.
In a game that could’ve went out of hand after trailing 63-44 at halftime The Heat showed their roster versatility. Head coach Erik Spoelstra found a defensive lineup with guards Mario Chalmers and Tyler Johnson along with rookie forward Justise Winslow to chip away at a Houston lead that grew to 21 points. Winslow in particular was effective as he kept Houston guard James Harden in check. Forward Chris Bosh, who started out cold, helped out scoring all ten of his points in the fourth quarter including a three-point shot that gave Miami its first lead.
The Heat also took advantage of the absence of Rockets center Dwight Howard by feeding center Hassan Whiteside throughout the game. He finished the night with 25 points, 15 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Most importantly Whiteside did not get in trouble with only two personal fouls.
Miami early on looked to be still be feeling the punch from their Cleveland loss with slow play and lazy passes that led to steals and points for Houston throughout the first half. It was bad enough to warrant a strong, profanity laced speech from forward and team tri-captain Udonis Haslem.
Miami’s perimeter issues also showed up. Even though the Heat had a higher three-point percentage than the Rockets the team still allowed Houston to get 36 shots off from beyond the arc, 14 more than Miami. The Heat also only made nine of those shots, although some of came in key moments.
Highlights of the Night:
There were three moments that stuck out most tonight, all of them involving guard Dwyane Wade but none resulting in points. During the game Wade missed two shots near the rim that almost became putback slam dunks, one by Winslow and the other by Johnson. Johnson for his part nearly posterized Harden in his attempt but was able to get the offensive rebound and made the layup after.
After the game Wade, who finished the night with 20 points, was interviewed courtside by Fox Sun Sports reporter Jason Jackson. when asked about what inspired the play in the second half he simply said “UD, UD” referring to Haslem’s locker room speech.
Next up for the Heat is a November 3 matchup at home against the Atlanta Hawks.