Back On Top
The Miami Heat are back in first place in the Southwest division thanks to a clutch win in Minnesota, and a choke job in Washington.
The Heat played a focused game against the fading Timberwolves, and came away with a 92-77 victory. Miami was in desperate need of a road win that didn't take place in Atlanta, and the Wolves were happy to provide one.
Defense and fast break baskets were what enabled the Heat to lead in this one almost the entire way. The Heat players combined for eight steals (Posey, Jones and Williams all had two). Every steal seemed to lead to a Posey layup and Jwil assist. Shaq was very active on the defensive end of the floor. He altered several shots and had two blocks on the night. It's nice to see the Big Man move his size 22's on D, and not be afraid to pick up a foul. Too many times in recent games O'Neal has been careful on defense, and it has lead to easy baskets for the other team.
All five starters for Miami finished with double figures. Udonis Haslem lead the team with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Jwil also finished with a double-double, 15 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. He had four turnovers, but to his defense none of them were his fault. They all should have been assists.
The Heat are now in first place by half of a game because of the 123-118 loss by the Wizards to the Raptors. This was a game the Wiz had in the bag, but with four seconds left, Mo Peterson nailed a 30+ footer to tie the game at the buzzer forcing overtime where the Wiz caved.
Sunday at noon, Pistons vs. Heat on national television. Pretty much a must win for the Heat, who really need to win every game from here on in to ensure a home court advantage in the playoffs. The Pistons are coming off of a close game against the Nets where they squeeked out a win 110-105. The last time the Pistons and Heat met Miami came away with a home victory. Detroit chose to cover Shaq one-on-one and got burned because of it. It will be interesting to see if they use the same tactic.
My prediction, Heat in a blow out, 100-75.