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Baseline to Baseline recaps: One half of Heat bests half of Spurs

Jan 18, 2012, 2:13 AM EDT

Heat small forward James reacts after the Heat tied the game with the Spurs in the second half during their NBA basketball game in Miami Reuters

What you missed while buying the paintings of a squirrel

Heat 120, Spurs 98: It was a tale of two halves. In the first half the Spurs controlled the tempo and forced the heat into the half court. LeBron James, fighting a cold that might have kept him home if Dwyane Wade could have played, was sloppy. Not just missed shots but slowed and bad decisions — where he normally attacks he hesitated. San Antonio shot 67 percent in the first quarter and were up 14 at the half.

And then it flipped. Miami stepped up its defensive pressure and the Spurs offense stalled. Then the Heat turned those stops in to fast break opportunities. Then LeBron James’ jumper started falling — he knocked down three from beyond the arc and outscored the Spurs 17 to 10 that quarter. The Spurs shot 34.4 percent in the second half. LeBron had 33 points and looked like his old self, Chris Bosh had 30.

There are still questions for the Heat about the severity of Wade’s injury and late game execution, but when they overwhelm a team it is an impressive site.

Magic 96, Bobcats 89: Charlotte hung in this one — they were up three at the break and it was tied heading into the fourth — as the Bobcats didn’t double Dwight Howard and stuck with guys on the perimeter, and Orlando could only knock down 31.8 percent of its threes (Howard’s foul trouble didn’t help). Orlando needs those threes. It eventually got them. While Dwight Howard led the way with 25 points on the night it was Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Von Wafer — yes, Von Wafer — who each had 8 points in the fourth quarter to help the Magic pull away.

Warriors 105, Cavaliers 95: The Cleveland Cavaliers turned the ball over on 25 of their 101 possessions — essentially one in four trips down the court they coughed it up without a shot. Hard to win games that way. Very hard. Kyrie Irving showed flashes of quality play but he had six turnovers. Antwan Jamison led a third quarter charge by the Cavs with his dozen, but he could not cover David Le, who had 29, 13 of them in the fourth quarter when the Cavs pulled away. Anderson Varejao had no answers for Lee either, who pulled out a few good post moves to put the game away. As an aside, this was an “on” night for Nate Robinson who had 17 points and 10 dimes.

Nuggets 105, Bucks 95: The Bucks can lose at home. Denver pretty much controlled this one from the start and only a big fourth quarter run by Milwaukee made it this close. Denver attacked from the start and got to the line 37 times on the night (23 more free throws than Milwaukee). The Bucks got 30 from Brandon Jennings but Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut combined to shoot 1-of-11.

Rockets 97, Pistons 80: I’m not sure the Rockets were good so much as just less bad. The attacked and moved the ball and shot 49 percent. The Pistons were more passive (their first free throw didn’t come until midway through the third quarter). Tayshaun Prince had 20 but the Rockets had six guys in double figures — balance won out.

Bulls 118, Suns 97: Derrick Rose was out again and Steve Nash tried to take advantage with 13 points in the first quarter as he and the Suns tried to pick up the tempo. But the Bulls just ground the Suns down (while shooting 69 percent early themselves). The Suns shot 37 percent in the second quarter while Carlos Boozer got hot (26 in the first half, 31 for the game) and it was over. Chicago pulled away and never looked back.

Jazz 108, Clippers 79: The Clippers were on the second night of a road back-to-back without Chris Paul or Mo Williams — this set up well for the Clippers to fall flat, and they didn’t disappoints. Credit the Jazz for taking advantage of this and blowing the Clippers out, taking charge early with an 11-0 run and just stretching it out most of the rest of the game. The Clippers starters sat the fourth. Paul Millsap had 20 for Utah. Not much to take away from this other than another a win the Jazz will add to the collection.

  1. tomshoe - Jan 18, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    If anybody noticed, today was the season debut for Mike Miller. Lucky for the Heat, he happened to be hot that game, going 6-for-6 from 3-point land. Let the hype begin.

    You see, Mike Miller’s performance come in 3 stages:

    1. The Expectations Raising Game

    2. The Several Expectations Lowering Games

    3. The Injury Game

    4. Repeat.

    It’s just a shame that he had to come back and have his good game to beat a coach that actually deserves the victory here.

    • raidmagic - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:34 AM

      Deserves a victory? How does a coach that presided over a 39 point swing in 24 minutes “deserve” a victory?

    • ibleedaquaorange - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Alright, so take away his 18; still a Spurs loss. I do somewhat agree with your 3 stages comment though, very humorous/accurate.

  2. kvanhorn87 - Jan 18, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    As an avid follower, can I make a request for a story to be written? Maybe everyone else can too. I would love to see actual analysis of what teams would be attractive to Howard and what pieces they would be able to offer. If the pieces aren’t there, what teams in the offseason can creat enough cap room to sign him, I.e. sign and trade, amnesty, trade exceptions etc. You know an actual good read.

  3. southbeachtalent - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    “Deserves” the victory huh?

    Riiiiight…..

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