It’s been awhile since the Miami Heat have been able to grab a win in the thin air of Denver but they did it last night, topping the Nuggets 98-93 for their first win in the Mile High City after a streak of 10 consecutive losses.
LeBron James was able to put up 27 points and added 12 assists. Is there anyone else out there in Miami Heat land that likes the trend of James becoming an assist leader. It speaks of the maturing of this team, at least to me. In an NBA where constant evolution is the norm the Miami Heat are evolving into a more complete team.
Another interesting point is the outside game is also becoming a combination effort. While Ray Allen was signed to provide that outside boost, in this game against the Nuggets it was Shane Battier who was knocking back the threes, hitting six to give him a 18-point contribution to the effort.
In the arena of good news/bad news, I’m not liking the injury reports. Now we’ve got Dwyane Wade out with a foot injury after missing time because of illness and we’re seeing Mario Chalmers on the bench with a strained triceps according to reports. Even LeBron is banged up but he’s still playing, though he’s nursing a shoulder injury. It’s nice that the Heat can keep winning with all this going on and I guess we should be grateful that there’s still plenty of time in the season to get healthy.
The Nuggets made a pretty good effort at the end to overcome a 19-point deficit but an offensive foul on Ty Lawson, combined with a couple of mental mistakes late in the game, allowed Miami to hang on.
From here it’s on to Phoenix and the Suns. I’ve been pushing and pushing the idea that Miami has to become a better road team. After five games they’re running 3-2 on the road this trip. Making that 4-2 would be a hell of a lot better than 3-3. I’m just not sure a team that breaks even on the road will win the NBA Championship this season. It’s gotta get better.