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Miami Heat Torch The Wizards On Opening Night

Well, the new era of Miami Heat basketball has arrived and there is nothing like starting strong to prove the haters wrong. Miami hosted the Washington Wizards, who added longtime Heat nemesis Paul Pierce in the offseason in hopes to boost their scoring. It wasn’t enough…

The Heat looked like a real team last night. The ball movement was sensational and 3 players (Cole, Wade & Bosh) scored 20+ points.

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The Washington Wizards were without star guard Bradley Beal and center Nene was benched due to suspension. The Miami Heat were without out key offseason addition Josh McRoberts. The game was a competitive one with a handful of ties and lead changes until the Heat broke away in the fourth quarter. Heat fans suffered a major scare late in the third quarter when Heat Lifer Dwyane Wade went down with an apparent leg injury and stayed on the hardwood for nearly a minute. He walked into the locker room on his own accord and then returned in the 4th quarter with what was labeled a contusion in his calf. However, nothing could slow down the man formerly known as Flash. Wade returned to the court with ice water in his veins – first pump-faking out one Wiz player to draw the foul and then hitting jump shot after jump shot to seal the deal and send Washington packing.

The crowd at AAA arena was on their feet for most of the late-4th quarter as Wade and Norris Cole put away their Eastern Conference foes for good. The loudest moment of last night’s victory, though, occurred when high-flying rookie James Ennis launched into the air for a vicious dunk that nearly brought the house down. Anyone that predicted the Heat fan base would fall off after Lebron left town underestimates these fans’  dedication and loyalty. It was a packed house and the fans sure got a treat on opening night.

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What Worked: Inserting Norris Cole into the starting lineup and having Mario Chalmers come off the bench as the 2-guard was very effective. Cole scored a career high 23 points (including a late 3-point dagger from about 27 feet away) and Chalmers looked aggressive all throughout this bout as he had some scoring success of his own. Also, Chris Bosh made good on his increased touches and he led all scorers and rebounders with 26 and 15.

What didn’t work: The Heat started newcomer Shawne Williams at forward last night where he went 0-6 from beyond the line and ultimately went 1-9 shooting. Williams is known for his 3-point stroke so his performance last night was a bit discouraging. However, even the great ones have off shooting nights and coach Erik Spoelstra is still tinkering with the starting lineups. Look for Williams to bounce back against Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Written by Grant Cohen

Twitter @GrantCohen

Heat Nation, The NBA Is Back – Washington Wizards v Miami Heat

After a grueling off-season wait, Miami has played (and won) it’s first “real” game of the post-LeBron era. Boy, was it it exciting. Even with the likes of Bradley Beal and Nene Hilario out for the Wizards, the Heat manages to win against one of its biggest competition for a top 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. In what seemed to be the most energetic regular season game for Miami in the past few years, there was a sudden revelation. Who cares if LeBron left? Yes: he’s the greatest player in the game right now, and is on target to be one of the greatest of all time. However, your team is living dangerously when it is defined by one player.

On opening day, Miami showed that they will not back down this season. Even the co-captain, Haslem, reassured Heat fans that they will play with every available ounce of energy this season. Chris Bosh seemed to summon his Jurassic era play from Toronto, and led Miami with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Dwyane “Declining Since ’08” Wade had a great game as well, posting up 21 points along with 2 three-pointers (both of which helped seal the game in the 4th quarter). However, there was a nervous atmosphere in the arena when he went down in the 3rd quarter, with what he called spasms in the calf. Yet, he returned, and like usual, put the game on his shoulders in the closing moments. Topping off the Big 3, Luol Deng seemed very aggressive early on; scoring 12 points while playing some excellent on-ball defense.

Norris Cole’s work ethic has always been second-to-none and it’s finally paid off, as he seems to be locked at the starting point guard position. He put up a career-high 23 points, and played some nice defense on one of the top point guards in the league, John Wall. Chalmers backed up Wade at the two spot, seemingly locked into the hybrid guard role this year. He played a decent game, notching up 8 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes.

There’s new blood in Miami, with the likes of Shabazz Napier and James Ennis. Napier played a forgettable game, yet made a huge steal on John Wall in the fourth quarter to help put the game out of reach.

And Ennis? Well, ok:

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Dwyane Wade Troll LeBron Post Game with CARTWHEEL!!! LMAO!