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Baseline to Baseline recaps: Miami’s little slump getting serious

Jan 15, 2013, 7:55 AM EDT

Utah Jazz guard Hayward watches as Miami Heat forward James reacts to a call during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City, Utah Reuters

Welcome to PBT’s roundup of yesterday’s NBA games. Or, what you missed while getting sucked into the “Good Will Hunting” oral history

Thunder 102, Suns 90: Kevin Durant is really, really good. Not sure if you knew that. The Suns were given a first-hand reminder when KD dropped 41 on the Suns in their home building. Brett Pollakoff was there for PBT and broke it all down.

Jazz 104, Heat 97: Dwyane Wade was benched the entire fourth quarter. Chris Bosh was benched for most of it and finished the game with one rebound. And Miami lost. Again. This slump is starting to get serious (Miami has lost three of four) and clearly coach Erik Spoelstra is getting a little frustrated and sent a message.

Meanwhile LeBron James might have had Cleveland flashbacks — him against the world without enough help. Monday night the Heat faced a Jazz team with a strong front line that was already a tough matchup because it would force Miami to defend and rebound, two things they haven’t done consistently of late. They didn’t again, and it cost them.

Miami got off to a good start on offense but didn’t bother to defend and it got them in trouble as the first half wore on — Utah put up 30 points in the first quarter (on 10 points by Al Jefferson), another 29 in the second quarter. Utah shot 67.6 percent in the first half. In the third quarter Utah kept stretching out the lead, it got up to 21.

LeBron led a late charge — a 21-5 run that got the lead all the way down to two points in the fourth quarter. LeBron finished with 32 points but made that run surrounded by the Heat bench players (Ray Allen had 8 in the quarter). It wasn’t enough — with the lead at two LeBron goaltended a Gordon Hayward shot (Hayward had 22 points) then committed and offensive foul and the Jazz held on for a key win. The Heat end up with a lot more questions.

Clippers 99, Grizzlies 73: Not having your star point guard against one of the league’s most opportunistic defenses would be a problem for most teams, but most teams don’t have Eric Bledsoe. The Clippers’ young, hyper athletic backup point guard picked up right where he left off in last year’s playoff series against the Grizzlies, flustering Mike Conley into another terrible performance (2-for-11) while controlling the game with 28 minutes of turnover-free ball, all in a dominant win in Memphis.

Without Rudy Gay and the steady diet of turnovers their offense feasts on, the Grizzlies offense sputtered completely. Repeated efforts to attack the Clippers in the post were denied, and any attempts to swing the ball around the perimeter were chopped off quickly. The Grizzlies shot 30 percent from the field, which was better than the Atlanta Hawks, I suppose, but still not nearly enough to take down a team that didn’t skip a beat without CP3.
—D.J. Foster

Bulls 97, Hawks 58: You are reading that right, 58 points for Atlanta. That happens when you score 5 points in the second quarter. Again yes, just 5 points. Atlanta was 2-of-21 for the quarter and scored 20 points in the first half. For the game they shot 29.3 percent. That’s not just the Bulls good defense, which is anemic. Carlos Boozer had 12 first quarter points, 20 for the game and looked pretty good for the Bulls.

After the game Hawks coach Larry Drew — who has seen his team lose four of five — said this was an embarrassment and that there would be changes.

Celtics 100, Bobcats 89: This makes six straight wins for Boston and they can thank Rajon Rondo for this one — 17 points along with 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He looked every bit the part of the elite point guard, which is easier to do against the Bobcats defense but still, a triple-double is a triple-double. Give Charlotte credit for not rolling over — they went on a fourth quarter run and got the lead down to four. Boston responded with a 9-0 run, and that was the ballgame.

Wizards 120, Magic 91: Don’t tell anyone, but this is three straight wins for Washington.

The Wizards led this one wire to wire and were clearly the better side, led by Emeka Okafor with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Orlando tried to make it interesting in the final five minutes of the first half when Jameer Nelson started hitting shots (14 points in the second quarter) and led a 13-0 run to make it a six point game at the half. But that was pretty much it — Washington got in a groove again and ran away to be up 22 again in the third quarter. Bradley Beal was 7-of-10 shooting for 17 points and six Wizards were in double figures.

Mavericks 113, Timberwolves 98: Two teams going in opposite directions continued those trends Monday night in a wire-to-wire Dallas win. Dallas blitzed the Minnesota defense all night — they shot 59.7 percent as a team. Minnesota did make a run late in the second quarter, got the lead all the way down to two, but Elton Brand hit the last four shots of the half for Dallas, stretched the lead out to 10 at the half and that was it. The lead got up to 23 in the third and the game was never really in doubt. Darren Collison led the way with 23 points for Dallas, both Brand and O.J. Mayo had 20.

Kings 124, Cavaliers 118: Defense? We don’t need no stinkin’ defense.

The losing team in this game had an offensive rating of 122.7 (points per 100 possessions) as both teams seemed to score at will (which made for a pretty entertaining game but a coach’s nightmare fuel). Sacramento led from the second quarter on fueled by DeMarcus Cousins (26 points, 14 rebounds and six assists) and amazing bench play (54 points on 60-percent shooting, led by Marcus Thornton with 20 points). Cleveland had six players in double digits but the steady diet of Kyrie Irving isolations down the stretch could not get it done.

This was the best game I’ve seen Dion Waiters play (admittedly I have not seen them all) — 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting. He had 16 points in the fourth quarter and while some of those were bad shots he was hitting them this night. I would have loved to see Irving give him a couple more shots late.

  1. infectorman - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Are the Heat approaching that rarefied air of being able to impose their will on another team while being behind the entire game like the Celts and Lakers of the 80’s used to do?
    Pulling out a W last nite would suggest that, but apparently they need to play strong for at least 3/4 of the game to win on most nites

  2. nbascreed - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    1. I never thought Wade and Spoelstra’s relationship was as cushy as everyone made it seem during previous years. I honestly don’t think Wade has ever really respected him and it definitely showed during his interview.

    2. Also, I have felt more and more less confident in the Heat’s title prospects this year. It’s much more empirical than evidential but I’ve felt like Lebron is playing much more alone this year then during the previous past seasons. I had expected Bosh to really step into the number two role this year as a scorer and rebounder and overall “star” presences but alas….

    • reupjosh - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Great points! Too bad you follow it up with a link to your website. Thumbs down.

  3. dls612 - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    the last few minutes of that game only demonstrates just like the other games they lost are because of rebounding issues! and I credit that to the front office and the coach! Its not like they don’t know what the problem is! And bosh is ridiculously soft under the rim! I was on that boat also thinking they are just saving themselves but now I’m not sure!

  4. gmsingh - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    The Heat look like crap this year–why are they even being talked about? Did David Stern send out a memo saying they should still be hyped?

    • reupjosh - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Glad ESPN still has “The Heat index,” because, lord knows, everyone needs to read that daily…

      • gmsingh - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:06 AM

        They only call it “the Heat index” because they’re not allowed to call it the bullsh%t index.

  5. lakerluver - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    The Heat will win not 1, not 2, not 3……..titles as long as EVERY game is played in Miami!!! Paper champions who won a title in a short season. Throw an asterisk by that “title”!!!

    • buffalowned - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      really? an asterisk…how old are you? pretty sure the playoff format was the same last year as it’s always been and i’m pretty sure okc had home court.. miami is still 1st in the east this year. you wanna talk about paper champions talk about your favorite team which has 4 future hall of famer’s and might not make the playoffs LOL

      • cantonbound13 - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        Don’t forget about the 06 title handed to them by Tim Donoghey

      • buffalowned - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        haha canton bound you are the biggest troll on this site it’s hilarious..and i’m pretty sure you’re a knicks fan right? maybe not. but idk why you’d be mad at the heat the knicks are just a failed version to copy the heat and celtics

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Who could even stay awake to watch these games?

    • cantonbound13 - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      You’re getting as soft as your team. I see you are as good as them when it comes to making excuses.

  7. rodyaugu - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Coach Spo shown some leadership last night. Bosh and wade didn’t come to play, they played with no energy on both ends. Sticking with them all the way would’ve killed any chance of a comeback. One guy he should’ve benched earlier in the game was chalmers. He was terrible on defense, didn’t even care to run out and contest shots. The effort they collectively put up last night wasn’t enough to even beat the bobcats or the wizards.

    • gmsingh - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:38 AM

      What does Coach Spo show the other nights?

  8. lakerluver - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Hey, buffalo bill, I don’t recall the LAKERS throwing a pep rally to celebrate titles they hadn’t yet won!! The LAKERS have FIVE titles in the Kobe era, let’s see Miami match that. Considering the fact that Okc’s best players haven’t even reached their primes yet and Miami’s best are probably not getting any better (and in the case of Wade, on the downswing) I don’t see those 7 titles that you losers were predicting. Plus, LeBron is out of there in a couple of years anyway. Why would he want to play with a broken down Wade and soft as cotton Bosh when he could play with Kyrie in Cleveland or Dwight in Los Angeles??!!!

    • buffalowned - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      yeah they had 5…you can thank shaq for 3 of those..remember when shaq got traded and the lakers missed the playoffs and kobe started whining for a trade? well he’s got about as much talent as anyone could ask for and he can’t make the players around him better. guarantee you lebron wins 5 and not a chance in hell he wants to be a part of that circus you got in LA. have fun scratching and clawing for the 8th seed. just accept that other than lebron the heat don’t try in the regular season and your team is going no where

  9. drunkenjunk - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I’m not a fan of the Heat in the least bit. That being said, they’re coasting. They’ll turn it up in the playoffs, maybe have a close series against Boston and steamroll the rest of the East. Then they’ll crush whoever advances out of the West and this part of the season will be forgotten.

    • rtfinch - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      All that depends who they play. They can turn up the play all they won’t, that won’t help their lack of size. If they play any of these big teams in the east who are good in the paint and attack the glass, they’re in for a long series…. or short with Miami taking their talents to Mango’s to watch the rest of the playoffs.

  10. cantonbound13 - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Overrated & so soft it’s embarrassing!

  11. lakerluver - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    I love it when no nothing fans use that lame, tired argument! In the three finals that Kobe and Shaq won, Kobe averaged 29 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Those numbers were most certainly MVP worthy. The fact that Kobe played with Shaq, who was the most dominant player for three seasons that the league has ever seen, makes guys like yourself minimize what Kobe did. Shaq and Kobe were arguably the greatest combo in NBA Finals history. Thanks for letting me educate you!!

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