Amir Johnson, PF37 MIN | 9-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 18 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -10Hopefully that ding he took at the end of the game isn’t anything serious, because this guy is the glue that holds the Raps together. Mobile bigs can hurt the Heat, and they had no answer for him on the glass. At one point in the 3rd quarter, he had as many rebounds as Miami by himself.
Rudy Gay, SF37 MIN | 11-20 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 27 PTS | -16Definitely came to play tonight, but his over-reliance on long jumpers just isn’t a sustainable way to get your points. When they’re going down, though, like they were in the 3rd quarter, it sure is nice to watch.
Jonas Valanciunas, C29 MIN | 7-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -8Get this kid more touches. He torched Haslem in the post with a variety of nice moves in the first half, and he should have had a chance to do it far more often when the game was still up for grabs (a lot of his points came in garbage time in the 4th). Had a tough time figuring out when to guard Chris Bosh for the shot or the drive, but he’s a rookie, he’ll figure it out, etc., etc.
Kyle Lowry, PG29 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -15The box score says only 2 turnovers, but it sure felt like more than that. Just couldn’t get it going early and began to force pretty much everything as the game went along – passes, shots, you name it. It’s a shame, because the Raps could have really used his floor spacing (the team went 2-20 from 3 on the game).
DeMar DeRozan, SG37 MIN | 5-17 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | -16Was beyond invisible in the first half (2 points in 19 minutes?) but did his best to assert himself in the 3rd, salvaging his box score a bit with a versatile offensive game. I like the fact that he tried to push the ball to the hoop when his shot wasn’t falling, but he fell in love with his jumper again far too quickly once a few went down. Like Rudy, if they’re going down, they can get you back in the game, but they’re not going to win it for you.
Landry Fields, SF9 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -6His jumper’s starting to look a bit less broken, which is a nice positive to take away from the game. Didn’t play many minutes and got overpowered by LeBron on defense, to nobody’s surprise.
John Lucas, PG9 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1Was brought in in the second half to try and infuse some offense into the bench unit after Bassy was ineffective in the first, but couldn’t get his shot going. That said, when you’re relying on John Lucas to balance your bench scoring, you know it’s been a rough night. Was the only Raptor to have a positive plus/minus on the night, for what that’s worth.
Sebastian Telfair, PG7 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8He came, he saw, he got relegated to the 3rd on the point guard depth chart.
Alan Anderson, SG11 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -12I was pretty happy with his defense tonight, but he was beyond ineffective on offense, finishing one lone rebound away from the dreaded “straight zero” box score line.
Terrence Ross, SG24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -15A real learning experience for him. Made some great decisions with the ball, including a beautiful drop-off pass to Amir Johnson late in the 3rd, and didn’t settle for jumpers, which was great to see. Had some real trouble checking James and Wade on defense (of course), but he continued to hang in there and push the action while he was out there. Casey’s been giving him a lot more rope lately, and he earned his minutes tonight.
Dwane CaseyGave the starters lots of run with a break in the schedule coming up, gave the rookies a bigger share of the offensive responsibility, made the switch from Telfair to Lucas at the right time, and ultimately helped keep the Raps in the game until the heat ran away in the fourth, which is ultimately all anyone could have expected. Sure, the Raps got blown out, but it wasn’t because of Casey’s decision making. The Heat are just REALLY good.
Three Things We Saw
Crazy stat of the game number 1: The Heat had 26 rebounds on the night. Amir Johnson had 18 all by his lonesome.
Crazy stat of the game number 2. The Raps went 2 for 20 from behind the 3 point arc. Chris Bosh went 2 for 3.
Crazy stat of the game number 3: The Heat have now won an incredible 22 consecutive games, and they made this one look almost as pedestrian as a 17 point win could ever look. It’s truly amazing to watch these guys turn the level up a notch when they need to. Enjoy this while you can – you’re watching part of NBA history.