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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.
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

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