Dwyane Wade, out with a sore left foot. LeBron James, out with a sprained left ankle. The Miami Heat, having to go into Atlanta undermanned, against a Hawks team that had just beaten them at home with James and Wade.
Problem? Shit and no.
Enter Chris Bosh. Bosh proceeded to trample any hopes Atlanta had of walking all over a depleted Miami Heat squad by going Beverly Hills Bosh all over the Hawks' faces with a monstrous 33-point, 14 rebound performance, including a three pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime.
Like a Bosh!
It took three overtimes, Mario Chalmers being both spectacular and terrible, and some atrocious officiating, but the Heat pulled off the 116-109 victory, not only avenging their first loss of the season to Atlanta, but also delivering one of the most memorable wins we've seen from the Heat in a while.
Chalmers, who sometimes looks brilliant and sometimes looks as if he just learned what a basketball was two minutes before tipoff, finished the game with 29 points. Twenty-two of those came after the third, including five in the final overtime when Atlanta decided to let him have a couple of uncontested layups off pick-and-rolls. To be fair to Atlanta, they probably thought he'd just dribble the ball of his foot, and so saw no need to play defense on him. So you can't blame them there.
A crotch-kicking second quarter for Miami gave the Heat a 67-54 lead into the half. But when Bosh picked up his fourth foul late in the third and was forced to sit, Atlanta took advantage of Miami's parallel universe What The Team Would Look Like If Pat Riley Wasn't Running Shit roster, and erased a 13-point deficit with a 16-1 run.
The Hawks held on to a 93-90 lead as time expired in the fourth. With the crowd cheering the certain win, and the Hawks looking to take a 2-0 season lead over Miami, Bosh decided that now was a good time as any to roundhouse kick everyone's hopes right in the pills, and launched a three-point shot over Atlanta's defense. The shot fell with six-tenths of a second remaining. And everyone had to sit right back down because they were going to get overtime, and like it.
The Heat managed to start the overtime period by taking a quick lead, only to give it up. But it was in the waning seconds of the second overtime that things were decided. In perhaps the key play of the game -- aside from Bosh's ballstastic three-pointer at the end of regulation -- Shane Battier came up with a defensive stop to save the game for Miami.
The game was tied, and Atlanta had the final shot. The Hawks' leading scorer Joe Johnson drove to the basket, with Battier guarding him in isolation. Battier put his hand on the ball as Johnson drove to the hoop, and slapped it away as time expired. In the third overtime, Atlanta scored no points, finally giving the scrappy Heat the win, and sending everyone to bed at roughly 4:38 in the morning.
It was undoubtedly a great win for the Heat, with standout performances from Chalmers and rookie Terrel Harris, who scored 9 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and who we'll probably never see again for the rest of our lives when James and Wade return to the lineup.
With the Heat playing a crappy New Jersey team tomorrow night, it might be a good idea to sit James and Wade out again, to give them extra rest to heal up, especially with this season's crazy 187 games in 100 nights bullshit schedule. It will also give us more of this:
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The Heat visit the New Jersey Nets on Saturday. Tipoff is at 7:30.