The NBA: Live by the Three

Chris Bosh celebrates as the Miami Heat torch
the Spurs for 16 triples.
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

*Unless otherwise specified, all images are from the Associated Press.

The San Antonio Spurs probably thought they had Miami’s number.

They were up by 14 at the half, thanks to fluid offense and Danny Green stepping up to make several big plays, including a buzzer-beating half-court heave to end the first 24 minutes.

The Miami Heat were reeling. They lost three straight before this game, Dwyane Wade is out indefinitely and, well, Chris Bosh is their second option.

They looked out of sorts.

Until they unloaded 71 points in the second half, while limiting the visiting Spurs to just 35. They turned a 14-point deficit into a 22-point rout. That’s a 36-point swing.

Without Dwyane Wade.

Against a team known for its bordering-on-boring efficiency and toughness in the clutch.

Well, I guess missing Manu Ginobili helped, too.

As a team, the Heat made 16 treys, with LBJ and Super Mario accounting for four each and Mike Miller finally living up to his billing by making all 6 of his long toms.

Will Miami shoot this way for most of their remaining games? I doubt. But this showed the Spurs, and the world, including this admitted hater, that the Heat, when they’re clicking, are so much more than the Big 3. Even when they’re down to the Big 2, or the Big 1 and Bosh, they’re still plenty good.

Miami is scarier now more than last year, and their previous 3-game slump notwithstanding, they’re poised to make another big run at that Larry O’Brien.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

ORL over CHA, 96-89 – This win, Orlando’s 5th straight, put them at a tie for 2nd in the East.
GSW over CLE, 105-95 – David Lee’s current numbers are closer to his 2009-2010 NYK self than last year’s mediocre version.
MIA over SAS, 120-98 – Bosh and James lead a furious third quarter explosion that all but deflated the Spurs. Both didn’t seem to miss Dwyane Wade.
DEN over MIL, 105-95 – Bucks lose their 3rd in a row and tumble half a game behind the sinking Celtics.
HOU over DET, 97-80 – Samuel Dalembert has another nice double-double, and he’s shaping up to be one of the biggest signings of the preseason. Houston still won’t be a playoff team, but he should take some pressure off Luis Scola.
CHI over PHX, 118-97, CJ Watson and Carlos Boozer do most of the damage as the Bulls climb to 13-3.
UTA over LAC, 108-79 – This actually shouldn’t be that big of a surprise, since the Jazz have lost just once at home and the Clips haven’t exactly been immaculate on the road. And Chris Paul played just 22 seconds.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
LeBron James (MIA) – 33
Carlos Boozer (CHI) – 31
Chris Bosh (MIA) & Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 30
David Lee (GSW) - 29

LeBron James is on-track to be one of the top scorers
for the 2011-2012 season.
Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 17
Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 15
Anderson Varejao (CLE) & Al Jefferson (UTA) – 13

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Andre Miller (DEN) – 11
LeBron James (MIA) & Nate Robinson (GSW) – 10

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Chris Bosh (MIA), DJ Augustin (CHA) & CJ Miles (UTA) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Dwight Howard (ORL) & Bismack Biyombo (CHA) – 4
Andrew Bogut (MIL) & Ben Wallace (DET) – 3

Dwight Howard was the best rebounder and blocker
on January 17, 2012.
Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Mike Miller (MIA) & Danny Green (SAS) – 6
A LOT with 4

Jan. 17, 2012 First Five
C – Dwight Howard (ORL) – 25pts, 17rebs, 4asts, 4blks, 1stl
F – Carlos Boozer (CHI) – 31pts, 6rebs, 2stls, 1ast
F – Chris Bosh (MIA) – 30pts, 8rebs, 5asts, 4stls
G – LeBron James (MIA) – 33pts, 10asts, 5rebs, 4 triples
G – Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 30pts, 6asts, 3rebs, 3stls, 3 triples, 1blk

Carlos Boozer led the Bulls in the absence of
superstar Derrick Rose.

Honorable Mention:
David Lee (GSW) – 29pts, 9rebs, 3asts
Steve Nash (PHX) – 25pts, 9asts, 1reb
CJ Watson (CHI) – 23pts, 5asts, 4rebs, 3 triples, 2stls

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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