One great game, two losses … as we double-dip due to a time-crunched publishing schedule …
[Orlando, FL] Coming off of one the closest, yet best games (as a fan) to watch – an overtime, buzzer-beater victory over the Indiana Pacers – the Miami Heat were ready to storm into Orlando and leave with a win on Tuesday.
A lot of rumors circulated during the day about Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. The biggest one was that if he was to stay with the Magic, that he could decide the fate of Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and General Manager Otis Smith.
Rumors have actually been going around since early in the year about him wanting out of Orlando, but this one came on the eve of “D-Day” – decision day for the team.
“If anybody thinks I care about that, I really don’t give a damn about being fired,” Van Gundy said. “That doesn’t concern me in the least. … If they want to fire me to please somebody, fire me.”
And with that in mind, we tip off …
In the first quarter, the Magic came out on fire, with Howard scoring 12 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Glen “Big Baby” Davis also contributed in style, coming off the bench to score 6 points. For the Heat, Dwyane Wade was the man, tallying up 10 points. At the end of one, the Magic were up 30-27.
Dwight Howard – is he headed out the door?
While the Magic controlled the first six minutes, it was the Heat who ended up dominating the second quarter. The Heat went on a 21-4 run to close out the half and took a double-digit lead into the locker room. At the end of two, the Heat were up 56-45.
However, Orlando stormed back after the break behind the play of PG Jameer Nelson, who scored 8 points. Howard didn’t do much in the third quarter, only scoring 3 points. Still, the Magic managed to cut the lead down to 1. After three, the Heat were up 73-72.
The fourth quarter went back and forth, with many lead changes and ties. With under a minute left, the game was tied. But, with 50 seconds left, Nelson hit a three-pointer and put the Magic up 94-91.
But, after many missed three-pointers from the entire Miami Heat team throughout, D-Wade rose to the occasion, stepping back to hit a three-pointer. The Heat ended up with the final possession and a chance to win, and the ball was in Wade’s hands once again.
Wade went to the same spot where he sunk the Pacers the night before, and the ball went in … but came back out. Every Magic fan breathed a sigh of relief. At the end of regulation, the game was tied at 94.
The Miami Heat missed out on many opportunities throughout the overtime period. Consequently, with under a minute left, the Heat were down, 102-98. After a turnover by the Magic, the Heat had a chance for a two-for-one. But, instead LeBron James took an unnecessary three-pointer and the Magic ended up with the ball.
Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson scored 25 against the Miami Heat
But, Howard missed both of his free throws and the Heat had another two-for-one opportunity with under 26 seconds left. However, on the next possession, Wade missed a three-pointer. The Magic hit a couple more free throws and ended up winning the game 104-98.
Dwight Howard played a great game, scoring 24 points and reeling in a whopping 25 rebounds. Jameer Nelson also had a monster night, scoring 25. Sharpshooter Ryan Anderson also contributed to the big win by scoring 16 points and reeling in 12 rebounds.
Miami Heat Lose To The Chicago Bulls – For The Second Time
Although he was a game-time decision, MVP point guard Derrick Rose sat this one out against the Heat with a groin injury (although the Bulls were just fine without him). For the Heat, sub Mike Miller was still out of commission.
The Bulls started the first quarter with a vengeance. They took an early lead, putting Miami on its heels early. But, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade came back, combining to score 23 points. And, yes, that means Wade and James were the only ones to score for the Heat in the quarter.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James goes to the basket against Chicago
At the end of quarter number one, the Heat were up 23-19.
The Bulls bounced back in the second by going on a 23-7 run, giving them a big lead. Derrick Rose’s back-up, John Lucas, was in the headlines last time against the Heat because he was dunked on by LeBron. But, on Wednesday night, Lucas made headlines for his play, scoring 8 straight points to increase the lead back to double-digits.
At the end of the first half, the Bulls were up 53-42.
Both teams stayed even throughout the third. It was James who did most of the scoring for Miami (13 points, 2 assists). But the Heat never got a run together and they ended the quarter as they began. At the end of three, the Bulls led 81-70.
Lucas took over for the Bulls in the fourth, scoring 10 points – and that was with a foot-taller LeBron guarding him. Although the Heat tried to rally, it wasn’t enough to beat the talented Chicago Bulls. The final score was Bulls 106, Heat 102.
An all-around team effort from the Bulls with their bench players scoring a whopping 56 points. And super stand-in John Lucas? He scored 24 points and had 3 rebounds.
This was the second straight game the Heat have lost. They just seemed out of it in this one, as they were out-rebounded by 16 and out-hustled throughout the night. Most of the Heat’s scoring came from Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who combined to score 71 of the team’s 102 points.
“This game was won in the trenches,” Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They absolutely annihilated us on the glass. We need to get into that fight under the glass.”
By: Michael Tristani II/Sunshine Slate