Cue up the Bonnie Tyler...the Heat are holding out for a hero!

The Miami cHeat: The cHeat led 30-22 after 12 minutes. They were up 63-45 at halftime. Their lead reached 24 points with 8:57 left in the third quarter.

Game over. Right?

Wrong. A thousand times wrong. The funny thing is, even as I was watching it, the lead felt like an aberration. In that overpowering first half, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combined for 47 points. That's right: They outscored the Magic by themselves. And you wanna talk about smokin' hot? Those guys were 18-for-21 from the field and 11-for-11 from the line. When you've got to MVP-caliber players converting 86 percent of their field goals and 100 percent of their foul shots...that's just crazy.

It's also an outlier.

'Cause, see, it's not like D-Wade and LeBron were running a layup drill. They were shooting dead-eye from the outside. In the first quarter, Wade hit back-to-back jumpers from 21 and 15 feet. Later in the quarter, 'Bron drilled a 15-footer while being fouled by J.J. Redick (he went on to convert the three-point play from the line). A little more than a minute later, James hit again from 15 feet. With eight ticks left in the first, LeBron knocked down a 21-foot jump shot.

This trend continued in the second quarter. One minute and eight seconds in, Wade connected from 20 feet. A minute and five seconds later, he hit from 20 again while being fouled by Redick (and, like LeBron, he converted the ensuing freebie). Then, 24 seconds later (after Hedo Turkoglue missed from 21 and Ryan Anderson failed to convert a tip in), Dwyane hit a shorter (eight feet) jump shot while being fouled by Redick again (it wasn't J.J.'s day). Wade finished off the three-point play from the charity stripe.

Wade wasn't done. With 6:39 left in the half, he drilled a 16-footer. On Miami's next possession, LeBron hit a 20-footer on an assist from Wade. Then, one possession later, James nailed a 22-foot jumper. Less than a minute and a half later, LeBron connected on yet another jump shot from 15 feet out. Next cHeat possession, James hit a 17-footer. Finally, with 24 seconds left in the second quarter, D-Wade hit from 20 feet.

Okay, let's get something straight: Wade and James are incredible players. But, for all the amazing things they can do, they are not dead-eye outside shooters. Opposing teams want to force them to shoot from the outside. It sure beats giving up layups or being forced to foul them. See, that's when Dwyane and LeBron are at their most dangerous. But, despite the huge and seemingly insurmountable deficit, the Magic actually succeeded. They turned the Dynamic Duo into jump shooters. Unfortunately for Orlando, Wade and James were both red hot from the outside at the same time.

Well, Pookie and King Crab regressed to the mean in the second half, combining for 10 points on 3-for-13 from the field and 4-for-8 from the line. We're talking some serious cool down here. Four minutes into the second half, Wade bricked two freebies in a row. A few minutes later, one possession after LeBron had thrown the ball away, Dywane bricked a jumper. Speaking of LeBron throwing the ball away, here's the rather hilarious way that happened:

On Miami's next possession, Dwight Howard blocked LeBron's jump shot. However, Miami recovered the ball, and LeBron went on to hit a 22-footer. That said, James missed from 15 on the next possession.

Fast forwarding to the fourth, Wade missed from 12 feet and, three possessions later, LeBron checked back in from a short rest and missed from 25 feet. Next possession, another missed jumper for Wade. A few minute later, Wade missed a 26-foot three-point attempt. With 46 seconds left in the game, Dwyane missed from only four feet away. LeBron closed out the game by clanging a potential game-tying three-point attempt off the front iron.

So, from the point at which the cHeat took that 24-point lead to the final buzzer, Orlando outscored Miami 50-23. That included a 40-9 run.

Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "Well, that defies explanation."

Added Dwyane Wade: "Mindboggling."

It was the second-largest comeback in Orlando franchise history. Their only bigger comeback came from 25 points down to the Cavaliers in 1989.

The funny thing is...this isn't even a one-time thing. When the cHeat played in Orlando last month, the Magic came back from a 23-point deficit in the final seven and a half minutes before missing a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds.

According to the AP recap, there have been only six games this season in which a team has led by at least 22 points and lost. The cHeat are responsible for two of those losses -- the other coming against the Jazz back on November 9 -- and both were in Miami.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau: "Only one other NBA team has lost a game after leading by 24-or-more points this season. That was the Detroit Pistons, who blew a 25-point lead in a 120-116 loss to the Raptors on December 11."

According to ESPN Stats and Information: "Miami continues to demonstrate a stunning inability to defeat good teams. Against the Spurs, Celtics, Mavericks, Bulls and Lakers -- the top 5 teams this season in terms of win percentage -- the Heat are a dismal 1-7. They've split 4 games with the Magic. And in games decided by 5 points or fewer, the Heat are 5-12. That yields a win percentage of .294, tying them with Philadelphia (also 5-12) for second-lowest in the league in such games, ahead of only Minnesota (4-12, .250)."

Said Chris Boshmallow (5-for-15 with four blocks against): "We've blown a lot of games where we were in full control. And we have to do something."

What's more, the cHeat are now 12-16 against teams that are currently above .500.

Said Wade: "The urgency is there. Just got to finish it. We enjoy these games. We play them hard. ... It's growing pains and it sucks. You're looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and maybe [in the playoffs] we'll look back on it and say, 'Oh, that's what it was for.'"

Added James: "We continue to get big leads and we continue to falter. Hopefully we can figure it out soon."

Or...hopefully not.

Anyway, games like this are what make the "LeBron for MVP" campaign kinda funny. His box score (29 points, 11-for-16, 7-for-7 from the line, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocked shots) will boost his Player Efficiency Rating and make the stat geeks drool all over themselves. Unfortunately, his advanced stats won't reflect the way he disappeared in the second half as his team was choking away a monster lead, not to mention his clunker of a wide open three that would have forced overtime.

And let's not forget that whole "5-12 in games decided by 5 points or fewer." Which brings me to this...

Evil Ted, quote machine: "How can a team with Dwyane Wade manage to not utilize Dwyane Wade in crunch time?"

That's an excellent question.

ET's answer: "LeBron James."

Chris Boshmallow: He wanted to be on TV. He wanted this. Now, not only does he get to be Ringo, his failures are being nationally televised right and left. Last week, the world got to watch his epic flop after the dreaded Carlos Boozer airbow in the middle of his even epic-er 1-for-18 shooting performance in Miami's loss to the Bulls. This week, we got to watch his testicles shrivel against another Eastern Conference power. Again: 5-for-15, four of his shots got stuffed, and he took a pass from LeBron in the face. Even The Onion is mocking him.

And now he's so very sad.

sad bosh

Wait. Was Bosh...crying?!

Thanks to Basketbawful reader stephanie g. for the link and pic. Vid from AnacondaHL.

Update! One more goodie from kazam92:

Reggile Miller, quote machine, Part 1: From Basketbawful reader Erik: "I like the ball and man movement."

Reggie Miller, quote machine, Part 2: From Basketbawful reader Aaron: "Eric Damiper playing HUGE for the Miami Heat."

bird and bear
Jazz Bear says: Only you can prevent forest fires looking like a douchebag.

The Utah Jazz: You can bet that, when TNT scheduled this game, they sure didn't expect Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams to both be playing in different cities. And you can also bet they probably wanted to take a mulligan on this one before tipoff. That said, it was actually an exciting game. You know why?

Unfortunately for Utah fans, the Jazz may have played a little too hard. To wit: The Nuggets attempted 25 foul the fourth quarter. By contrast, the Jazz attempted 12 freebies for the game.

Did I mention Utah was the home team?

And yet, the Jazz still had a chance to pull this one out. Devin Harris nailed a triple to cut Denver's lead to 103-101 with 1.2 seconds to play. And then...

Kenyon Martin: In what may have been the worst last-second inbounds play since Isiah Thomas helped cement Larry's Legend, K-Mart basically handed the ball to Andrei Kirilenko. Mind you, Kirilenko's fast thinking and freakishly long arms helped, but Kenyon wasn't thinking on this one. Literally.

Said Martin: "My brain stopped working."

Fortunately for the Nuggets...

Andrei Kirilenko: ...the Russian Rifle misfired. Big time. I'm talking an airball from directly underneath the basket.

But it wasn't his fault!

Said Kirilenko: "[Martin's] hand was on the ball. It wasn't a foul but I didn't really get the ball and I tried to finish without it."

The Denver Nuggets: Remember how I said the Nuggets shot 25 free throws in the fourth quarter? Well, they hit only 15 of them. Still, they held on to win, giving them five victories in six games since 'Melo went buh-bye. Which is more than we can say for:

The Utah Jazz: Utah has dropped four of the five games they've played since exiling D-Will to New Jersey. Even worse, the Jazz have fallen two games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. And, yes, even worser, Utah has lost seven straight at home...their worst home fail streak since 1982.

Chris's Amazing One-Line Lacktion Ledger: Zydrunas Ilgauskas piggybacked a board in 4:08 with two bricks and two fouls for a 2:1 Voskuhl.

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Blogger chris said...

How many nationally televised single-doubles does Boshmallow have?

Just checking. Isn't that exactly what he was excited about as part of his successful attempt at piggybacking off of Wade/Crab's accomplishments?

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Couldn't agree more with your post about how they played.

But as someone who's watched Wade his whole career, I think his best days are leaving him and I also think he just wouldn't fare any better closing out a game. He's been horrendous from the FT line this year and his jumpshooting has regressed in general. He has lost vert as well. But whatever. I await a 30 pt drubbing by the Spurs. I leave you with this

Blogger LotharBot said...
The Nuggets' huge free throw advantage would've been bigger were it not for home cookin.

Aside from Jefferson in the post, the Jazz were a jump-shooting team. When they went to the P&R the PG tended to get trapped up top and forced to pick up his dribble, so the ball stayed outside. They ran a lot of plays to get guys like CJ Miles open from midrange. When they did run inside plays, the passing tended to be sloppy and led to a ton of turnovers. They drew 21 Nuggets fouls (while being whistled for only 23 themselves, not exactly a huge disparity), but few of those were shooting fouls because the new-look Nuggets don't generally foul jump shooters.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, kept taking the ball inside. The Jazz seemed to make it a point to foul Chris Andersen rather than let him dunk (good move; his 7-10 on ft's saved them 3 points. 8 of those ft's were in the first 5 minutes of the fourth.) This got them into the penalty early in the fourth quarter, which is why the Nuggets got a jillion freebies down the stretch.

So where's the home cooking come in? The Nuggets shot 0 free throws in the third quarter, despite pounding the ball inside (lots of Nene postups and Lawson-Nene P&R.) The Jazz were whistled for 3 fouls in the period, but 2 were offensive. Noted defender Al Jefferson recorded 4 blocks in the period, and no shooting fouls. Nene, who leads the league in field goal percentage, shot 0-3 in the period (blocked twice). The TNT crew noted George Karl was furious about a couple of calls late in the period, and rightly so. Were it not for Jazz home cookin, the Nuggets might've picked up another 10 free throws late in the third and cruised to an easy win.

Blogger chris said...
Say, doesn't Bosh's 17-brick performance last week count as a nationally-televised single double?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
But as someone who's watched Wade his whole career, I think his best days are leaving him and I also think he just wouldn't fare any better closing out a game.

Well, the Heat have tried Eddie House, Mike Miller, Chris Bosh, and, of course, LeBron. Why not give Wade a try is all imma say.

Say, doesn't Bosh's 17-brick performance last week count as a nationally-televised single double?

I just checked with ESPN Stats and Information. They say yes.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: Don't forget, they have tried Dampier, not necessarily for last-minute shots but for a surprising amount of production considering the pedigree of the "Heatles."

Does this make Dampier Billy Preston, and Chris Bosh the Yoko Ono of the group?

BTW, we need to do a post on all of Bosh's nationally-televised single doubles soon. ;)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
BTW, we need to do a post on all of Bosh's nationally-televised single doubles soon. ;)

I agree. Sounds like a job for our lacktion expert. :)

Anonymous lechuckie said...
i'm curios about the heat's decision to allow bosh and james took the last two shots. with the exception of wade, those are the worst 3pt shooters among the heat on the floor at that time. also,i wonder if releasing arroyo was a good move, given that he was the best 3pt shooter on that team (% wise).

Blogger chris said...

Challenge accepted.


I'll see if I can come up with some data soon. First, gotta wade through (no pun intended) which El (Oh El) Heat games were nationally televised, and NBA TV does not count.


In 3 hours, the Nyets and Craptors will be playing the first ever Association game in Europe.

Is it me or is this Stern's test run to exile bad teams where they cannot be seen?

Maybe the Purple Paupers will be in Estonia next?!

Blogger Dooj said...
What?!? No mention of K-Mart being OUT OF BOUNDS on the last play when he smacked the ball while AK-47 had it? That should have been whistled out of bounds immediately...

Anonymous EuroGuy said...
What is the name for Chris Bosh's position? "Power" forward doesn't seem appropriate.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
What?!? No mention of K-Mart being OUT OF BOUNDS on the last play when he smacked the ball while AK-47 had it? That should have been whistled out of bounds immediately...

Hm. Yeah, probably should have mentioned that...

What is the name for Chris Bosh's position? "Power" forward doesn't seem appropriate.

Two ideas:

Powerless Forward or Pillow Forward.

Blogger stephanie g said...
At the beginning of the season when I said Bosh was a taller Beasley and that LeBron would turn Wade into Mo Williams I thought I was trolling.

Blogger chris said...
Okay, I just compiled Bosh's stats, which I'll pass on in an email to Dan and Bawful in a second...

Including the TSN/TSN2 games against the Craptors, the El (Oh El) Heat have now been on some sort of genuine national TV (not NBA Network) 20 times this season.

In those 20 games...

Bosh managed one performance WORSE than a single-double (the opener against Boston), and 13 single-doubles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Blogger chris said...
So one can look at that stat and say, Hey, Bosh DID get 6 double-doubles in those 20 nationally televised games!

Yeah, but one of them - the game against Chicago on January 16th - involved middling contribution in the form of 17 points and 11 bricks. LOL.

Blogger chris said...

Looks like the Maloofs are more than happy to job Sacramento!

not much else to add to this.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
Why are the Kings moving to a city that ALREADY has a team called the Kings?

Why are they moving is it because Sacramento can't afford to build a new building?

Blogger chris said...
Michael Hsu:


- In 2006, voters rejected a mostly-tax-funded arena that the Maloofs desperately wanted (despite the fact the Maloofs were busy flaunting their wealth in Carl's Jr. ads)

- Due to mismanagement, the Maloofs' side business interests - the Palms casino and their beer distributorship - are nowhere as valuable as they were back then

- With potential multi-millions in broadcast dollars seemingly available in Anaheim, they think that they can pay off their financial mistakes in Vegas/elsewhere by cashing in the collateral of the Kings, which they have no interest in selling to local ownership or anyone

- While current mayor and ex-baller Kevin Johnson wants the team to stay, the Maloofs clearly are cooperating more now with the folks in SoCal than they are with the local studies to figure out how to get something done here.

Blogger chris said...
And hey Dan, someone at Royalty actually quoted "Pretzel Logic" in the comments. Nice.

Too bad it has to be on the funeral of a basketball team.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
What is the name for Chris Bosh's position? "Power" forward doesn't seem appropriate.

Related anecdote: When I was at the Clippers game, and Andrea Bargnani got beat to a rebound or got out-muscled down low or something typically Bargnani-ish, the very witty guy sitting behind me yelled out "We have the tallest small forward in the NBA!". Yeah, we sure do.

Pillow Forward is not bad. Something that captures the shooting-guard like essence of his game. OK apart from Landry Fields who is actually a better rebounder than CB4.

Anonymous EuroGuy said...
I realized that Bosh plays Pooh Forward, because he is so soft and cuddly.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What is the name for Chris Bosh's position? "Power" forward doesn't seem appropriate.

If LeBron is a point forward, maybe Bosh is pointless forward?

Blogger LotharBot said...
Impotent Forward
Subservient Forward
Bower Forward
Defer Forward

Blogger Cortez said...
"What is the name for Chris Bosh's position? "Power" forward doesn't seem appropriate."

Cower Forward

Anonymous AK Dave said...
"pillow forward" and "cower forward" : +1

Chris and the other Sacramento fans: all I can say is this-

First they came for Charlotte, and I said nothing because the South is dirty.

Next they came for Vancouver, and I said nothing because Canada isn't a real country anyway.

Then they came for Seattle, and I said nothing because the city hasn't been relevant since Cobain died....

And then... well you get the idea :) Next on the GeSTERNppo chopping block: New Orleans.

I really hope that NBA franchises don't become roving circus acts that move around from city to city every time a City has the nerve to refuse to tax its citizens for a shiny new arena. But that looks like the way we're headed for all but the largest-market teams.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...

Blogger chris said...
AK Dave:

It almost seems like the small markets not named San Antonio are there to serve as professional opponents for the popular teams.

Something like Bavetta/Donaghy does NOT help with that perception, either.

Anonymous FourDown said...
Is it just me or does that pic of Bibby remind y'all of the painting of Vigo from Ghostbusters 2?

Anonymous BirdDog said...
I have a question related to Dooj's comment:

I've been playing ball for...well, long enough to remember what it was like to wear nut-hugger shorts. So, I've been around a while. As far as I can recall, I have NEVER seen a play like the end of the Jazz-Nuggets game last night where a defender is standing out of bounds and clearly makes contact with the ball while it is in the offensive player's hands. Watching it live I was sure it would be ruled out of bounds, but I'm not sure what the rule is.

Is there anyone here who can point me to a good explanation of the rule? Any good NBA rulebook sites?

Blogger 80's NBA said...
I was gonna say "Fail Forward", but I think Cortez has is: "Cower Forward". Beautiful.

Anonymous mi said...
it's the NBA that should be in the Worst of the Night, not Kirilenko.

The NBA confirmed to that the play should have been blown dead if Martin touched the ball from out of bounds, and that the Jazz would have been able to inbound the ball from under the basket with however much time officials determined was on the clock when Martin touched the ball. Clearly, Martin touched the ball from out of bounds.

"If Martin touched the ball, the play should have been ruled dead right there with Utah inbounding," Tim Frank, the NBA's senior vice president of basketball communications, told the Deseret News on Friday. "On video replay, it appears he did touch the ball."

In other words, the refs were late for their dinner reservation, sorry.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The best part nobody is talking about:

After LeQuit hits his own f'ing player in the face with the ball because LeQuit wasn't paying attention (and it also speaks volumes about how much he cares what Bosh does on the court), he doesn't even go up to him to say sorry. He backpedals back down the court as if to say WAY TO GET IN THE WAY OF MY PASS, JACKA*S

Anonymous afl said...
"The Utah Jazz: Utah has dropped four of the five games they've played since exiling D-Will to New Jersey. Even worse, the Jazz have fallen two games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. And, yes, even worser, Utah has lost seven straight at home...their worst home fail streak since 1982."

Devin Harris will bring the "I knew we were going to be a playoff team" statcurse wherever he goes for the rest of his life.

Any chance he can reverse it by declaring "I knew we were going to be a sucktacular lottery team" or something? (Ssshh! Don't tell him! He might get ideas.)