With their 99 to 94 win over the Nets last night, the Heat are above .500 for the first time in what seems like an eternity. Heat fans know how bad last season was, which makes these little victories that much sweeter. While this team might have no shot against the Hornets or the Celtics yet, it is nice to pick up the wins you should get, like against the Nets. Coach Erik Spoelstra put the win in perspective last night, "It's significant with what we're trying to build at home. We're trying to make this a tough place to play, and we're trying to win our fans back." At the end of the day a W is a W and each one will help bring fans back to American Airlines Arena, and make teams worry about playing them.
The Heat needed a big fourth quarter comeback to win, and it was nice to see more than just Wade step up to propel it. Daequan Cook's defense on Vince Carter was huge last night, as was his stroke from the outside. I think it is safe to say now that last years first round pick was not wasted on Cook. The guy took some time to mature and learn how to play the right way, but he now is a consistent threat from the outside and turning into a defensive key as well. Another key off the bench last night was Chris Quinn, providing solid ball handling and clutch free throws down the stretch. As much as all of the fans think there are better options out there than Quinn, the guy is steady. He might not be a threat to ever take over a game, but he is good as a backup, because he will never do anything to lose you a game either. While Mario Chalmers develops, Quinn is a great stopgap.
MVP awards for the game go to Michael Beasley in the first half and Dwayne Wade in the second half. Beasley kept the team in the game last night in the first half with 15 points on a wide array of baskets. There were times in that half that he looked like an all star, but as the second half got going he seemed to run out of steam. When he is not involved in the offense, he seems to just float around on the court. Spoelestra needs to find ways to keep him active throughout the game and not just when he has the hot hand. Luckily for Beasley and the Heat, the 4th quarter belonged to Dwayne Wade as he scored 19 of his 33 points in the quarter. What was most exciting about those 19, was that 9 of them came on three pointers. Wade will never be mistaken for Glen Rice, but if he can hit a three pointer every now and then, it will open up the driving lanes as defenders will have to play him closer on the perimeter. Wade had his third consecutive 30 point game, which should put to rest all of the talk that the Olympics were an aberration and that Wade really is finished. The guy took some time to get into the swing of the season, but I think it is fair to say that he is in fine form, and that if this team can stay healthy, the playoffs are not out of reach.
- Joel Anthony has taken over for Mark Blount as the backup to Udonis Haslem, but he is just as bad. He had 4 rebounds, which for Blount could be a seasons worth, but the guy has rock hands and can't score on my mom. He is supposed to be a shot blocker, but the guy looks no taller than Beasley out there.
- The LA Clippers have put Chris Kaman on the trading block, which should intrigue the Heat. He is a legit 7-footer, who can score inside and get on the boards. Pat Riley has always been intrigued by Kaman, so much so that they almost drafted him over Dwayne Wade. With the addition of Marcus Camby in the offseason, Kaman has become expendable, and the Clips are either looking for a bruising power forward or expiring contracts to take in exchange. The Heat have both in Haslem and Shawn Marion. Haslem has been the heart of this team, so it would be tough to see him go, but with Kaman in the starting lineup with Beasley, Marion, Wade, and Chalmers, there is balance.
- Marcus Banks was active last night, but seems to have fallen out of the rotation already.