The NBA: Heating Up

Dwyane Wade and the Heat are on the up and up.
*All images are from the Associated Press.

“It's not going to be your night every single night, especially on this team,” – Shane Battier giving some advice to rookie Norris Cole

I hate to say it, but the Miami Heat are just annihilating the opposition, and they are the best basketball team in the world right now.

Not the most likeable (certainly NOT), but, admittedly, the best.

And things are, as the cliché goes, just heating up.

What Battier said above was right. On a team as stacked as the Miami Heat, a team with James, Wade, and Bosh, chances are any other player will simply have to be content with scoring maybe 8-12 points a game, if at all.

And especially now that Spo’s Big Three are all connecting, it’s going to be next to impossible for anyone else to break out. It’s also going to be really really difficult for any team to beat Miami.

Yes, it’s bee done twice this month already – Miami lost to Milwaukee two weeks ago and to Orlando last week, but is there really any other team out there most feared (and hated)?.

The Rose-less Bulls?

The up-and-down Thunder who lost to Sacramento last week?

Despite their win-loss standing not (yet) reflecting it, the Heat are the toughest team to play against.

They are tops if FGM and FG%. They are in the top 5 in 3pt%, drpg, FTM and FTA (a reliable measure of how aggressively they attack the basket). They are also in the top 10 in steals.

It’s just an all-around team. A team that has a tendency to make any other pay for every error committed. A team that can have three of the top ballers in the world running down on the break at the same time. Wade in middle, LBJ on the right, and Bosh on the left. Or any other arrangement.

They are just playing great ball – even greater than last season.

And because these guys have that collective chip on their shoulder about coming up short last season, they’re much hungrier, too.

Good luck to the rest of the league. Good luck to the rest of us.

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

PHI over CHA, 98-89
Lou Williams scored 23 points off the bench as the Philadelphia 76ers built an early lead and held on to send the Charlotte Bobcats to their 15th straight defeat. Thaddeus Young added 20 points on 6-of-9 FG shooting, and Jrue Holiday chipped in with 19.
MIA over MIL, 114-96
LeBron James scored 35 points and the Miami Heat finally found a way to beat Milwaukee, using a third-quarter surge to beat the Bucks for just the first time in 3 meetings. Miami is now 22-7 - equaling the franchise's best start after the first 29 games of a season.
ORL over MIN, 102-89
Jason Richardson scored 17 points, and Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu each added 14 as the Magic used a big second half to beat the Timberwolves. Orlando has won two of its last three games and earned its seventh straight victory over Minnesota.
NOH over UTA, 86-80
Chris Kaman scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and the Hornets snapped an 8-game skid with a victory over the Jazz. Marco Belinelli and Gustavo Ayon each added 13 points for New Orleans, which led by as many as 20 in the third quarter before holding on for only its third victory in 26 games.
DAL over LAC, 96-92
Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points, 11 in the final 6-plus minutes, and Shawn Marion added 16 as the Mavs continued their dominance over the Clippers.
Dallas has now won 4 straight, and have not lost to the Clips since 2006. Caron Butler of the Clippers scored a season-high 23 points against his former team, and Blake Griffin added 20 points. Griffin's problems from the foul line, however, cost his team as he missed 7 of 9 FTs.
GSW over PHX, 102-96
David Lee had 28 points and 12 rebounds, Monta Ellis scored 18 points and the Warriors earned their first 3-game winning streak under rookie coach Mark Jackson. Rookie Klay Thompson added 10 points and fellow reserve Ekpe Udoh had 9 points, including a layup with 35.9 seconds remaining that extended Golden State's lead to five and capped a comeback from 12 points down in the second half.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
LeBron James (MIA) – 35
David Lee (GSW) – 28
Chris Kaman (NOH) – 27
Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 25
Carlos Delfino (MIL) – 24 

LeBron James on-track to be the MVP? Looks like it.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Kevin Love (MIN) – 15
Nikola Pekovic (MIN) & Chris Kaman (NOH) – 13

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Steve Nash (PHX) – 14
Boris Diaw (CHA) & Greivis Vasquez (NOH) – 10

Steve Nash is still an All-World PG.

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Andre Iguodala (PHI), Corey Maggette (CHA), & Greivis Vasquez (NOH) – 3

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Kenyon Martin (LAC) – 4
Ekpe Udoh (GSW) & Gustavo Ayon (NOH) – 3

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Carlos Delfino (MIL) & Caron Butler (LAC) – 5
A LOT with 3

Feb. 13, 2012 First Five
C – Chris Kaman (NOH) – 27pts, 13rebs, 2asts, 2stls, 1blk
F – David Lee (GSW) – 28pts, 12rebs, 3asts, 1stl, 1blk
F – Kevin Love (MIN) – 19pts, 15rebs, 3asts, 1stl
G – LeBron James (MIA) – 35pts, 8rebs, 3asts, 1stl
G – Carlso Delfino (MIL) – 24pts, 5 treys, 4asts, 2stls, 1reb

Chris Kaman resurgence in Louisiana?

Honorable Mention:
Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 25pts, 12rebs, 2blks
Lou Williams (PHI) – 23pts, 4asts, 3rebs, 2stls, 1blk
Chris Paul (LAC) – 16pts, 9asts, 5rebs, 2stls

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


*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Associated Press.
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