1) These two teams traded bomb after bomb down the stretch. The Heat got down 8 late, and then KJ James would make some ridiculous 25 foot three pointer over a double-team, then the Rockets would walk the ball to the other end, Battier would take their best player James Harden, Patrick Patterson would set a a mild screen for Harden, Battier and Chris Bosh would just automatically switch defensively for no reason, Harden would break Bosh down off the dribble, the defense would sink to the paint, and Harden would find some stiff on the perimeter - Chandler Parsons; one of the Morris twins, I have no idea which one; Carlos Delfino - who would bury a triple dead center. It went right down to the end. It was a thriller. It was a heart-pounder. You know what it was, actually? A humdinger! You know how I know? 'Cuz Eric Reid said so! In a related story, Grizzlies play-by-play announcer Pete Pranica called it a donnybrook! Watch your back, E. Reid, watch your back! Oh, and one more thing: Let it fly!!!!!!!!
2) For all the great individual efforts in this game - KJ James' 38 points, 32 in the second half (and his 5th straight 20 point 10 rebound game); Omer Asik's 19 points 14 rebounds; Chandler Parsons' 25 - two coaching gaffes by the Rockets and solid coaching by the Heat, may have been the difference. Down 1 with under 30 seconds to go, KJ James made a brilliant defensive play, coming off his man to wall off a Harden drive at the rim, producing the first Miami stop since, seemingly, last season. After James drove and scored to put the Heat up 1 with 18 seconds to go, Jeremy Lin whiffed a triple 3 feet wide left, and Dwyane Wade caught the airball, and was fouled with under 10 seconds to go. Rockets' coach Kevin McHale was home dealing with a family issue, and long-time college coach (before he was essentially kicked out of the NCAA for repeatedly violating recruiting rules) Kelvin Sampson was running the bench. Omer Asik, who dominated the painted area in this game, had been on the bench down the stretch because he can't guard Bosh, and the Rockets wanted more shooting on the floor offensively. But with Wade shooting 2 free throws, and the Rockets intending to call timeout after the shots, you have to insert Asik for the defensive rebound. Have to - it's a no brainer, every team does it. Sampson didn't do it, Wade missed both, but on the second, Bosh went right up over the top of two Rockets, snatched the rebound, got fouled, and made both shots to put the Heat up 3. To compound the problem, during the ensuing timeout, Sampson forgot to re-insert Jeremy Lin, and had to call his final timeout after sending the team back on to the floor to get Lin back in the game. This ensured that the Rockets had to shoot a three to try to tie it, since without any timeouts left, they couldn't go for 2, foul, and bring the ball back to midcourt. The timeout mistake was brutal, especially after the rebounding error - Tony Fiorentino pointed out "that's where your assistant coaches come in, to keep track of that stuff." Ahhh, that's the problem - Kelvin Sampson is the assistant coach! Oops! Meanwhile, Coach Spo recognized that Houston would have to shoot a three, and for the first time all night put the league's best wing defender, KJ James, on Houston's best player, Harden. Harden took two dribbles, tried to okey doke KJ, who stayed glued to his left (shooting) hand, and Harden eventually threw up an awkward fling under duress that missed by a mile. Sometimes coaching doesn't matter at all - the players generally win or lose it. But tonight it mattered a little bit, and Spo won that battle down the stretch.
3) Just realize this: no one in this league can really guard Chris Bosh, not when he's surrounded by KJ James, Dwyane Wade, and so many shooters. He scored 24 more tonight on 10-14, and had 3 assists for good measure (not to mention the biggest play of the game amongst his 10 rebounds). Here's what it has come to: in the second quarter, after a hot start, our Udonis Haslem-Rashard Lewis combination up front ground both the offense and the defense to a halt, and we didn't score for about an hour. KJ James was passive (to be honest, he didn't play with a ton of energy, even in the second half - he just kept making bombs), Wade was out for a long while, and Ray Allen couldn't shake free for looks because the ball was not moving well. When Bosh came back in, he didn't touch the ball for two or three possessions, prompting someone in Casa Dos, it doesn't really matter who, to scream at the tv "throw the ball to Bosh and let him score," whereupon someone finally did, and he did, instantly, twice in a row. He is playing tremendous basketball right now. Through all the criticism of Bosh over the last two seasons, I was often his only defender, the only one pointing out how talented he was, and how important he was to the team. Go ahead, look back over the blog and see what you find! And, believe me, I definitely didn't go back and edit any of the passages about him over his first two seasons here! Are you crazy? Do you think I have time to do that? Of course I don't, I'm a grown-ass man!
4) Who in this league gets more dunks when he never comes back on defense and his team gets a stop and flips the ball downcourt to him where he is all by himself than Dwyane Wade? Answer: no one. And it's not even close! Had a couple more tonight!
5) O! M! G! It's like someone has been reading my mind when I'm dreaming, the really good dreams, the kind where you wake up, and you're ummm, kind of feeling it, if you know what I mean! I mean, this is unbelievable, even I never expected this! If anything could ever move Mario "Emcee" Chalmers past Mike Bibby as my all-time favorite Heat point guard, it would definitely go a little something like this: http://blogs.thescore.com/tbj/2012/11/12/new-nba-music-mario-chalmers-has-a-rap-song/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
We just played back-to-back games, we have tomorrow night off, and then we are back-to-back on Wednesday in LA versus the Clippers, and Thursday against Denver. Those are both late games - ughhh! If you need me before Wednesday, I'll be applying for the new opening at the CIA. See you then, soldiers!