If last night's Miami Heat's to-do list was:
- Lose to yet another quality team at home
- Go ten straight possessions without scoring a basket
- Have their two best players combine for two points in the second half
- Allow the opponent to go on a 40-9 run
- Blow a 24-point lead
- Miss another last second three-point shot
Then, mission accomplished!
Because the Heat did all that -- and more -- when they blew a 24-point lead at home against the Orlando Magic last night to eventually lose 99-96.
The Magic's Jason Richardson sparked Orlando's comeback, scoring 24 points.
The Heat took a seemingly comfortable 63-45 lead into the half. And then proceeded to come out for the second and do that thing where they play basketball like they just don't give a shit and allowed Orlando to crawl its way back by jacking up threes and outscoring Miami 50-30 in the second half.
Dwayne Wade, who was back to his old Dwyane Wadian ways in the first half with 28 points, went 0-for-4 in the fourth quarter. Likewise, LeBron James scored 29 points for the game, but was a giant heap of epic fail in the second half, including his 4,876 failed last-second shot* (*this number may not be accurate, losing makes us angry and hyperbolic!).
Miami had a chance to tie the game and force overtime at the end with 9.6 seconds remaining. But three-point attempts by Chris Bosh and James failed to drop, and the Heat lost yet another close game they should have won.
The Heat have been squandering huge leads all season, including a 22-point lead in a loss to Utah earlier this year. So while last night's collapse is nothing new for the Heat, this one was especially tap-you-in-the-nuts-with-an-alpine-hammer, because it was against Orlando and it was the second-straight choke job after it blew a 15-point lead to the Knicks on Sunday.
Eric Spolestra tried to keep things in perspective afterward:
"The most important thing right now is we have to continue to prime the pump and move forward," Spoelstra told reporters. "It still became a ball game, however you get there.And:
"There are only two options for us: We can collapse or we can continue to stay the course.
"It has not broken us, so eventually we will respond," Spoelstra said.