In a game that featured two teams seemingly just going through the motions, the Miami Heat pulled out its franchise-record-tying 61st win of the season, equaling the 1996-97 squad that finished 61-21. LeBron James was the sole member of the Big Three to suit up, and he led the Heat with 28 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in just 30 cruise-control minutes of action.
Udonis Haslem brought the ruckus early Tuesday night, scoring all ten of his points in the first quarter, while pulling down a team high 15 rebounds in the victory. Norris Cole and Ray Allen both chipped in 11, as the Heat had little trouble with its probable first-round playoff
victim foe. Brandon Jennings had 30 points in the loss, while no other Buck reached double figures.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh sat out this contest due to
total disinterest nagging injuries. Wade, because of his past knee issues, is in total rejuvenation mode at this point in the season, while it just seems like it's Bosh's turn to rest. The Heat learned a lesson last season while watching Wade limp through the playoffs at less than 100 percent, and obviously the team isn't willing to go through the same thing again this year with his knee. With most everything locked up at this juncture, it's just the smart thing to do.
The two teams will probably meet each other in the first round of the playoffs, as Milwaukee has a firm hold on eighth place in the Eastern Conference, while the Heat has had first place locked up since New Year's Day. The matchup figures to be lopsided, almost an extension of the regular season for the Heat as it prepares for tougher tests. The Bucks have the tendency to be streaky-hot from the outside -- an especially dangerous habit with the addition of J.J. Redick -- but the Heat will quite possibly be the biggest favorite of all time in the series.
Obviously, minus Wade and Bosh, Tuesday night's contest can pretty much be considered an exhibition of zero relevance or importance. With the big dance just a few weeks away, Miami, if nothing else, got a free preview of the first-round foe -- something that could help the team when looking at film, preparing defensive game plans.
Exhibition or not, LeBron James always puts on a show. In the first quarter he rose up, thinking pass, then in midair realized the passing lane had closed and decided "meh, off the backboard might buy me some time," and then took the rebound off the board and threw it down -- titty balls. In a game that was completely meaningless, he continues to amaze. All LeBron has to do right now is walk up to Spoelstra, point at his chest, and say "NO PLAY" and he could put his feet up until the season ended -- but that's just not in his DNA.
The Heat will have five chances to break the franchise record for wins, beginning tomorrow night in Washington. That's brutal scheduling by the NBA, having the Heat at home Tuesday, in Washington Wednesday, and back at home against Boston Friday. The season ends April 17 with a home game against the Magic. I'm sure at this point the team is enjoying the rest, but it's also ready to get this title defense underway.
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