They don’t call him Supercool for nothing.
In a wire-to-wire contest with the Denver Nuggets that featured Miami recovering from a nine-point deficit to eventually take home a 97-94 win, and a 3-1 record on the West Coast road trip, the Heat were left in a difficult position up one with less than a minute to play.
With the ball in LeBron James’ hands, the Nuggets committed the same mistake they had made many times before when playing the Heat: Doubling on LeBron and leaving one of Miami’s many shooters open.
Unlike last year in Miami when it was Ray Allen hitting the big three or in Denver when it was Norris Cole, it was Michael Beasley this time around hitting the shot that put the game on ice.
James, once again, attracts a double-team and passes out to a wide-open Beasley at the top of the perimeter. Despite having not taken a three-pointer that night and having been quiet in the second half, Beasley rose up and knocked down the shot to give Miami a four-point lead.
The shot gave Beasley nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, while James’ assist gave him ten for the night on a night where he also scored 26 points.
With LeBron James sitting out, it was believed that it would put a damper on the anticipated clash between the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers, the hottest team in the NBA tied for the league’s best record.
It was up to the Heat’s ‘Big Two’ plus the supporting cast to lead the way. While Dwyane Wade struggled with his shot, needing 19 shots to score 16 points, Chris Bosh assumed the role of the Heat’s absurdly efficient star, finishing with 37 points on 15-of-26 shooting and 10 rebounds.
He also hit 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, with each three coming in the final four minutes, but none bigger than the final one.
Down by two and with only seven seconds left to get a shot up, Wade drove in and attracted the defense of Robin Lopez and LaMarcus Aldridge to the rim, where he then kicked it out after seeing they were completely committed to him.
The pass went to a wide-open Bosh, who stood a good two feet beyond the three-point line, ignored the closeouts of Mo Williams and Damian Lillard, and dropped a bomb that scraped the rafters to give the Heat a 108-107 lead with .5 left.
LaMarcus Aldridge’s alley-oop attempt at the buzzer came up long. Aldridge, who has been recently argued as the league’s best power forward over guys like Bosh, finished with 22 points on 9-of-20 shooting to go with seven rebounds and four assists.
Aldridge and Lopez were eaten alive by Bosh last night on mid-range jumpers and drives to the cup all night, and finished the night being fooled by Wade and keeping all hopes of a strong defensive effort on Bosh on the final play nonexistent.
LeBron James’ 20 Best Dunks of his NBA Career
Loyal and faithful reader,
With LeBron James terrorizing his opponents with rim-shattering dunks lately, I felt it best to compile a list of the 20 best dunks of his career over at Dimemag.com.
I came up with the idea after the dunk over Ben McLemore, which makes an appearance at #20, but any of the four dunks he’s done recently (the dunk over Millsap, the two alley-oops vs the Lakers, the windmill against the Kings) could all replace it or even force it out of the top 20 altogether.
But that’s just how LeBron James works. When you think you finally got him figured it out, he goes and does something that reminds you why he’s unequivocally the world’s best basketball player.
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni let it be known prior to his teams’ contest with the Miami Heat that he wanted them shooting at least 30 three-pointers.
Before this week, I was used to hearing rumblings from the dwindling number of critics of LeBron James who claim his dunks are stale and hardly ever coming on a defender.
There aren’t many teams who can get away with allowing their opponent to shoot 58 percent from the field, yet still come away with a 19-point victory.
The Miami Heat have never been like most teams, though, have they?
In a battle of the MVP candidates, it was Dwyane Wade, the one who always seems to be overshadowed and underrated, to spoil each star’s day with the elite performance of the night.