« Pass on A.I., Tinsley? Right Play | Main | Shoulder sidelines Haslem vs. Hawks »

Postgame Breakdown: Thunder 100, Heat 87

There's no way to sugarcoat this. The Heat got punked. This was Manny Pacquiao versus Miguel Cotto.  Thunder_Heat_Bask1  
This was Jay Z versus Soulja Boy. This was WalMart versus K-Mart.

It was no contest.

When you've got a jump-shooting center, a roster full of jump-shooting forwards, a spot-up point guard who doesn't really spot up all that much and one dude consistently capable of going to the basket to generate offense, it's easy to jump to these sort of conclusions after one bad night.

Make that two bad nights. The difference was Dwyane Wade's three-point gift from God was able to help the Heat get past New Jersey with one-tenth of a second left. But there was no Wade-to-the-rescue moments for the Heat's offense in Tuesday's 100-87 thumping at home by Oklahoma City.

The only productive thing the Heat can take out of Tuesday's meltdown to end its five-game homestand was the team's red-eye chartered flight to Atlanta for Wednesday's game against the Hawks. Poor shooting ripped through the Heat as if it were a strain of the swine flu.

D. Wade was off. Mike Beasley was off. Udonis Haslem was off. Anyone not named Daequan Cook in the second half was off. Anything resembling perimeter defense was off. Tuesday's loss prevented the Heat (7-3) from matching its best 10-game start in franchise history.

It was also a wake-up call. Or at least it should be. Wade needs a consistent sidekick he can rely on during games when he's simply human. The Heat needs a high-jumping, shot-blocking, rebounding, long-armed, in-the-paint finishing big man that can dominate on both ends. Or at least have a presence.

Man could this team use an Alonzo Mourning or a James Posey right about now. Even at this stage in their careers. Because Kevin Durant, Russell West and the Thunder were Larry Holmes whipping up on an old, flabby, lifeless Ali at AmericanAirlines Arena Tuesday night.

D. WADE'S DOINGS: Perhaps filming that Gatorade commercial after a grueling practice on Monday took a bit out of Wade. Especially if he had to film several takes during the shoot at AmericanAirlines Arena. The man simply had nothing left on Tuesday. Wade was 6 of 19 from the field and had six turnovers in 40 minutes. He scored 9 of his team-high 22 points from the free-throw line. He added seven assists and six rebounds. But credit Thabo Sefolosha for at least making Wade work hard. There are going to be nights when Wade goes for that fourth-quarter switch and can't flip it on. This was one of them.

TURNING POINT: The Thunder used a 16-1 run midway through the game that allowed it to take a Thunder_Heat_Bask2 commanding double-digit lead in the first half. During that run, Westbrook bulled over Mario Chalmers for an offensive foul and then got into a bit of a dust-up with Jermaine O'Neal. Westbrook didn't back down and had to be pulled away by Wade. That moment showed the Thunder was here for a fight. The Heat didn't have much of a punch. Miami would get as close as three at the half, but another run in the third put it away for OKC.

LOSING EDGE: OKC's starting forward tandem of Durant and Jeff Green outscored the Heat's forward duo of Michael Beasley and Quentin Richardson 45-10. That's a damn shame. Beasley has disappeared since he had what was thought to be a breakthrough 24-point performance three games ago against Cleveland. Since then, Beas has gone 6 of 26 from the field the past two games. Richardson has been hit-or-miss offensively. And that's OK. But he's in the starting lineup to provide perimeter defense. That part of his assignment went undone against the Thunder.

HEAD-SCRATCHER: Grant Long, a member of the Heat's inaugural team during the 1988-89 season, certainly didn't show much love for Miami's current superstar. Long, now a commentator for the Thunder's television broadcast team, said he doesn't consider Wade as one of the top five players in the league. Asked to give his fav five of sorts during the broadcast, he named Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan and Paul Pierce as the five best and most complete players in the league. "I can't put him in my top five," Long said. "I want two options in a guy. A guy who can drive (or) shoot when the game is on the line. Right now, I don't go to Dwyane Wade. Right now, he's primarily a driver."

KEY CONTRIBUTION: The silver lining was Daequan Cook's emergence from his shoulder injury-induced Cook-Preseason shooting slump. Cook was 5 of 11 from the field and 4 of 9 from three-point range for 17 points off the bench. He will need to continue that hot streak for the Heat to have any chance of getting past the Hawks and Raptors on the upcoming two-game trip. Jermaine O'Neal had his third double-double, with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

NEXT UP: Heat at Hawks, Wednesday 7 p.m. Phillips Arena

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)




Powered by TypePad