Back to Basics, Lebron, Wade Lead Heat Past Magic

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Just a couple of weeks ago, Miami fell victim to the Orlando Magic 102-89 in what seemed like a daunting 6 game road trip ahead.  However, Erik Spoelstra quickly regathered his troops, focused on film sessions, and preached all the right things including team defense and identity. The Heat responded with a vengeance and strung off 6 wins in a row all by double figures. Miami’s record is now 25-7 and the current streak that they hold of beating 6 straight teams by 10 points or more, ties their second-longest such streak in franchise history.

Last time the Heat faced the Magic, Miami let Orlando launch 42 three’s while connecting on 17 of them.  There was no sense of urgency, no closeouts, and just a overall lack of effort on the defensive end.  Oh how things have changed mightily.  In a 90-78 victory over the Orlando Magic, Miami’s defense was much more stringent as double teams and closeouts were a recurring theme the entire night.  Orlando only connected on 11 of their 29 three points attempts and seemed to collapse under the suffocating defense of the Miami Heat.

The scary part? Miami believes that the level they are playing at right now isn’t even close to where they want to be at.  When asked about their unbelievable stretch as of late, Wade replied with, “We want to go to another gear, and then another gear.  Our next gear will be tuning up for the playoffs.  Next gear after that will be playoffs.  We know we still have ways we can get better.”  Wade, who wrapped up the afternoon with a game high 27 points on another very efficient 13-23 shooting from the field, is playing at an exceptional level since his return.  He has quickly boosted his production in the statistical department, increasing his points per game to 22.1 and his field goal percentage to just under 50%.

On the contrary, Chris Bosh’s statistics seem to have suffered the most since Wade’s return. Bosh has attemped 3 fewer field goals and his points per game has dipped to 18.2.  On a brighter note though, it seems like Chris has accepted this role willingly and is doing things that help his team win basketball games.  After vowing to give a better effort in the rebounding department, Bosh has increased his rebounds per game to 8.3 and is now the team leader in rebounds.  Nobody expects Chris to put up 20 points and 10 rebounds every single night, but if he consistently provides this concentrated effort on the defensive end and in the rebounding category, this team will be far more dangerous than they already are.  Chris Bosh finished the game with 8 points and 9 rebounds, while holding Ryan Anderson to only 9 points as  opposed to the 27 points that Anderson went off for the last time these two teams met.

Meanwhile, LeBron James was just being LeBron James as he ended his night with another near triple double, 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists.  Perhaps James has been taking freethrow shooting tips from his teammate, Dwyane Wade, because today he connected on 6 of his 7 freethrow attempts, and from the looks of it, appeared much more concentrated at the line while showing signs of improvement on his shooting form.

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