Confidence Meter 6.4 (Smile on face)
• Seeing as newly minted Heat Killer Nick Young was out, I guess you could breath easy that no obscure shooting guard would light up the Heat on this night. Well, Jordan Crawford — the most popular wise guy NBA draft pick from last year — did just that. He got his 39 points from everywhere including a crowd pleasing “looter in a riot”, worthless three-pointer with the game basically over with just seconds left. His performance included a perfect 10-for-10 from the line and 50% shooting from the field that included 5 threes was completely off of screens and catch and shoot situations. This guy will be a player. In John Wall and Jordan Crawford, the Wizards have something to really build on.
• Speaking of John Wall, what was that skirmish with Big Z about? Zydrunas Ilgauskas uses his elbow to create space to get a outlet pass off, and John Wall responds with? A punch to the mid section. Immaturity issues remain with John Wall, as you see if you watched him regularly. Wall is an incredible talent, but team basketball is not his fortay. Wall regularly breaks off plays to freelance and push transition when it is not warranted. It has been an un-even rookie campaign.
On the fight night front, Juwan Howard gains his 3rd ejection due to fighting this year. NICE. Jamal Magloire is slacking off in this department. This time, Howard seemed to attack Javale McGee for what he percieved as a nosy interjection into the Wall/Big Z fracas. He was right. McGee was trying to instigate to get Wall off the officials radar. In the new NBA, where video is used more and more often to litigate these matters, that was a futile effort. The Ilgauskas ejection was not warranted. An elbow to create space whiel holding the ball is not illegal. Simple Basketball 101.
• The Miami Heat’s defense was terrible for the most part again, and it all started with on the ball defense. The Heat’s help defense is being taxed lately and it is leading to fouls. Opponents are finding the whistles easier to come by when attacking on dribble penetration. They are really missing Mario Chalmers‘ aggressiveness on defense. But make no mistake, Mike Bibby is the long term starter at point guard. Chalmers energy and defense off the bench will be a much needed boost to the second unit.
• The Big Three will score 100 one day soon. What is incorrectly being identified as three guys carrying “the load” is merely a focus of a NBA team’s offense being on three guys and those three guys being very good. There really are no touches for anybody else unless they get them on secondary or strictly on a catch and shoot basis. James Jones has slid in nicely as of late, and his effort tonight was a particularly heroic one, being that he stayed behind in Cleveland for dehydration symptoms from a stomach virus. Jones caught a plane to make it in for the game and then went 4-5 from three.
• A shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves team awaits on Friday night, and Michael Beasley‘s second crack at the Heat this year, after starting hot, but then getting hurt the first time out. Recommended viewing for Thursday Night? Celtics at Spurs. The Spurs are expected to get some starters back for this one, and the Heat can find themselves in the 2nd seed by percentage points come Friday morning.