Last night we saw the best and the worst of the Miami Heat. The best was on display as they built a 22-point first half lead against the Jazz: Nine or 10 Miami players got on the scoreboard, LeBron was collecting rebounds and directing the offense while letting the scoring happen naturally, and D-Wade attacked and put pressure on Utah’s defense. Miami took a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter, but as it slipped away, we saw their worst — namely, poor frontcourt and rotation defense as Paul Millsap was a steroid mix of Karl Malone and Sam Perkins, finishing with 46 points (19-28 FG) and 9 rebounds … Three-pointers by Deron Williams and Millsap (three) in the final minute of the fourth brought Utah within one point, and after Wade split a pair of free throws, Utah had a chance to win it with 3.4 seconds left. C.J. Miles missed a three, but Millsap was there for the putback at the buzzer … Wade (39 pts) took over in overtime, smashing a Varejao-esaque dunk over Kyrylo Fesenko and sticking a cold step-back corner three, scoring all 10 of Miami’s points in the extra frame. But even with D-Will (21 pts, 14 asts) fouled out and Ronnie Price running the point, plus an ineffective Al Jefferson on the bench, the Jazz stayed in it … Tied up in the final seconds, Price drove and found Francisco Elson at the rim, who was fouled by Wade. (Almost unbelievable that an NBA ref would make that call at that time against that player in Miami.) Somewhere, Charles Smith was in disbelief, but that’s what we all wanted: The worst player on the court deciding the game with 0.4 on the clock. Elson made the first free throw, banked in the second while trying to miss on purpose, and all Miami could get was a bad look for Eddie House … LeBron finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists, 3 blocks and 2 turnovers. But he shot 5-for-18 and missed a lot of jumpers, so by the Rajon Rondo Theory of Haterism, he’s still not an elite player. Anybody could have done that playing with two All-Stars … Big night for James Jones. He took his first free-throw attempts of the season, and he tried to dribble a couple of times … Hornets/Clippers was shaping up as the undercover most entertaining game of the night, but instead it got ugly faster than Thugnificent‘s last album. Again, this undefeated run by New Orleans hasn’t been simply Chris Paul dominating for 48 minutes; last night six Hornets scored in double figures, while CP3 chipped in a modest 13 points and 8 dimes … Baron Davis is back (10 mins, 4 pts), and Eric Bledsoe didn’t help his case for keeping BD’s job by turning the ball over five times. Bledsoe did have 6 points, 6 boards and 8 assists, and his effort/athleticism still outshines Baron. At the same time, Bledsoe didn’t come into this season expecting to start. Vinny Del Negro can find a way to start Baron and keep the locker-room peace while still making sure Bledsoe gets some burn … Everybody was getting buckets for the Pacers, as they lit up the Nuggets for FIFTY-FOUR points in the third quarter alone while hitting 20-for-21 from the field. That’s the fourth most all-time. Mike Dunleavy Jr. (31 pts, 6 threes) put on a laser show beyond the arc … In our latest NBA Power Ranking we said the Nuggets are hard to figure out due to their inconsistency. On the second night of a back-to-back, last night it was like the Nuggets didn’t even try to pretend they weren’t dragging … Think the refs need to chill out with the new rules? During Knicks/Bucks, Timofey Mozgov had the wind knocked out of him and was laying on the floor. One ref called for the Knicks’ trainer, and when the trainer stepped onto the court, another ref whistled him for a technical … Bill Walker should have gotten a tech for hurting Andrew Bogut‘s feelings. One time Bill drove baseline, Bogut decided to challenge, and well, you’ve seen what Bill can do. Nasty dunk … Maybe he’s still trying to stick it to the Knicks for not drafting him, but Brandon Jennings was locked in. On his way to 19 points and 8 dimes, he was dropping between-the-legs passes on the break and one-hand lasers to open scorers … Other stat lines from Tuesday: LaMarcus Aldridge posted 19 points and 17 rebounds (seventeen?) in Portland’s rout of Detroit; Kobe dropped 33 points in the Lakers’ surprising non-rout of the Wolves, while Kevin Love had 23 points and 24 boards in the loss; and J.J. Hickson had 18 points and 10 boards to lead Cleveland past New Jersey … We’re out like Indiana missing …
Smack / Nov 10, 2010 / 3:20 am
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