Maybe the Heat were overconfident, or wanted to give the D.C. fans a thrill. They didn’t turn up the defensive intensity until the fourth quarter, when their shots didn’t fall. LeBron James had a triple double (26 PTS, 13 REB, 11 AST) in the losing cause, Dwyane Wade had 24 and Chris Bosh (20 PTS, 12 REB, 4 AST) on a night when they toyed with an inferior opponent far too long. Miami still could have won if Ray Allen (11 PTS) didn’t miss six 3-point shots, most of them wide open. Randy Wittman shook up his rotation, and it worked. Chris Singleton (9 PTS, 9 REB) got starting nod at PF and played well enough to keep the job. Emeka Okafor opened each half at C before giving way to Kevin Seraphin (16 PTS, 10 REB) while Nene (7 PTS in 16:47) played sparingly. Jordan Crawford was terrific with 22 off the bench; he was even seen passing (6 AST) in crunch time. Trevor Ariza suffered a calf injury, so Martell Webster (13 PTS) may be a good H2H streaming option as the Wizards, now 2-13, play Friday and Saturday.
Other December 4 Games
LAL @ HOU: The Lakers led 58-45 at halftime, mostly because was James Harden and Jeremy Lin combined to miss 13 of 15 shots. Pau Gasol finally rested his sore knees, allowing Antawn Jamison made his first start for the Lakers (15 PTS, 9 REB, 3 BLK) but that left the bench thin. Kobe Bryant scored 39 points, and Dwight Howard (16 PTS, 12 REB, 4 BLK) won his individual battle with Omer Asik (10 PTS, 9 REB) until everything changed in the second half.
With Lin struggling, Toney Douglas came up huge (22 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST) and Carlos Delfino (15) had another solid game off the bench. Though I jinxed Patrick Patterson (6 PTS) by bragging about him yesterday, Greg Smith stepped up to be the hero. The undrafted sophomore had 22 points on 7-8 shooting, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in 24:19; his teammates kept finding him under the basket. The Houston reserves played most of the second half and Rockets’ interim coach Kelvin Sampson deserves credit for riding their hot hands, and for ordering the hack-a-Howard strategy that gained his team a few valuable possessions.
MIN @ PHI: I dismissed Josh Howard yesterday as a mere placeholder for Andrei Kirilenko and predicted the Wolves’ revolving door of guards were in for a long night. Go figure. Howard ripped off a season-high 16 points and all four guards scored in double figures, led by Alexey Shved with 17 off the bench. The big guns were quiet; Kevin Love (16 PTS, 10 REB) and Nikola Pekovic (6 PTS, 5 REB) both played less than 30 minutes. However, the Wolves’ bench had a 57-23 margin over the 76ers’ reserves. Nick Young (toe) didn’t play, Dorell Wright didn’t do much (6 PTS) and Spencer Hawes (6) hasn’t scored more than seven points in his last eight games. You can’t pin this loss on the Philly starters, though Evan Turner (19) and Jrue Holiday (13 PTS, 9 AST, 5 REB) have both enjoyed better nights. The second unit was simply horrible and Minnesota, despite missing four excellent players with various injuries, showed off its depth.