We knew the Miami Heat were going to have to score against the Houston Rockets, a team that lights up an NBA scoreboard, but the bigger question was whether Miami could slow down the Rockets and keep things manageable. They could and the did, putting away Houston with some solid defensive plays in the final minutes to cap a 114-108 win in American Airlines Arena last night.
Key plays included and offensive foul drawn by Mario Chalmers against James Harden, a blocked shot by Dwyane Wade, and another offensive foul created by Udonis Haslem as the Rockets attempted t mount a winning comeback. Up by 17 at one point, the Heat needed some big plays on the other side of the ball and they got them.
Of the 23 games played in American Airlines Arena this season, Heat tickets have delivered 20 wins, a fact that keeps Miami in front of the pack in the Eastern Conference. Few teams can deliver as consistently as Miami on their home court.
LeBron James put up 32 points and continued his hot streak. Dwyane Wade, besides producing his key block, had 31 points and eight assists, and Udonis Haslem filled in pretty capably for a flu stricken Chris Bosh with 11 points.
One striking feature of this game, and a tribute to the Rockets team style, was the fact that all five starters were able to hit 10+ points, a challenge for any defense and it highlights a sound defensive performance for the Miami Heat.
Miami hopes to continue their winning with a solid performance against the LA Clippers who will come to American Airlines Arena missing some key pieces and mired in the midst of a dismal streak of games.Eric Drouant