With absolutely nothing left to play for in the regular season, the Miami Heat threw out a hodgepodge starting lineup against Cleveland Monday night and won anyway. Behind Norris Cole and his 16 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, the Heat
C team pulled out a gutsy win, the kind that once again proves this is the deepest Miami Heat team of all time.
The Heat reserves threw up threes a-plenty, making 13 of the 28 they launched on the night. Rashard Lewis had three of those threes and finished with 19, while Mike Miller had three himself and finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. Joel Anthony finished a perfect five for five from the field for ten points; he was one of the six Heat players to finish in double-figure scoring. Kyrie Irving led the Cavs in the defeat with 16 points but finished just 7-19 shooting.
Predictably, the Heat sat its entire starting five of LeBron, Wade, Chalmers, Bosh, and Haslem. Plus, Shane Battier took the night off. A similar inactive list can be expected for the season finale in Miami versus Orlando this Wednesday, but who gives a shit -- watching these reserves beat other teams has been an entirely new kind of fun.
No doubt the play of the game was the final play of the game. With the Heat clinging to a one-point, 96-95 lead, Eastern Conference All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving dribbled the ball with less than five seconds left -- then he straight got his purse snatched. As Irving rose up, Cole stole the ball and dribbled it back down the court as time expired, slamming it to the ground and sealing the win for the Heat reserves.
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The Heat now turns its attention to this weekend, when the team will begin its playoff run against the Milwaukee Bucks. Led by Brandon Jennings and Monte Ellis, the Bucks provide spark-plug offense at times but rarely good enough defense to be a threat in the East. The Heat will be an all-time favorite to win this series, and win this team will, or I will live under a turnpike overpass while subsisting on wild mushrooms and rainwater I collect in discarded beer bottles. Rested, confident, and flat-out better at NBA ball, the Heat should have zero problems with the Buckaroos.
Miami Heat pride. 65 wins. 15 strong.