Photo credit: @warriors
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Warriors, as has been their custom, lately, did not get off to a good start against the Miami Heat Wednesday night. The Heat, a team that averages 103 points a game, did everything right in the first half of the game as they poured in 74 points and held the W’s to 59. The 74 points almost tied the heat record of 75. At one point they led the W’s by 24 as they were making threes. The Heat players were driving the lanes and getting fouled. The Heat made nine 3s in 18 attempts. They made 17 free throws in 20 attempts. The Warriors were 5-for-21 from behind the arc. They made six free throws and missed two. The Heat shot 59.5% from the floor in the first quarter, and the Warriors were at 36%. The Heat led 32-22 after the first 12 minutes of play.
It was more of the same in the second quarter. The Heat continued to play well while the Warriors were trying everything to get points on the board. Heat coach Eric Spoelstra sent in his two veteran sharpshooters, Dwayne Wade and Goran Dragic, to generate some offense and they did just that. Dragic was on fire as he knocked down four 3s and scored 20 points in the quarter. He finished the half with 25. Wade added 12, and the Heat led 67-43 before the Warriors woke up. The Warriors had a run late in the half behind Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Miami, the third-worst scoring team in the NBA, took it to the Warriors in the first half. Klay Thompson’s 21 points kept the Warriors in the game. Kevin Durant had 11, but he could not connect on a 3-point attempt. Curry finished the half with 9 and he, too, had trouble connecting on the shots from downtown. The Heat ended the first half leading 74-59.
The Warriors knew what to do in the second half. The first thing they had to do was stop the Heat’s offense. They did that. The second thing was to get more offense, and they outscored the Heat in the quarter 33-26 to finish the period trailing 100-92.
In the NBA, teams can erase an 8-point deficit without too much trouble. Draymond Green hit a 3 to bring the Warriors within six with 8:20 left to play. Curry followed with a 3 and the Heat’s lead shrunk to 3, 106-103. The Warriors continued to make stops and were able to take a 4-point lead late in the fourth quarter. In the last minute of the game, Durant missed a free throw. Had he mad the free throw, the Warriors would have had 3-point lead 126-123. He didn’t, and the lead was just two points, 125-123, when Dwayne Wade hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 0.1 seconds left on the clock to stun the Warriors and send them down to defeat 126-125.
Game Notes and Stats: The Warriors gave Demarcus Cousins the night off for rest. The Heat was missing James Johnson and Hassan Whiteside.
With the loss, the Warriors drop to 43-18 and remain 1/2 game ahead of the Denver Nuggets for the Western Conference lead. The Heat snapped a six-game home losing streak and improved to 27-33.
Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 36 points, Curry finished with 24 points, but was 4-for-14 from 3-point land. Durant had 29 points and made three 3s in 12 attempts. Jordan Bell was the only other Warrior in double figures with 10 points. The Warriors shot 49% from the floor.
The Heat had six players in double figures. Dragic was held to two points in the second half, and ultimately finished with 27 points. Dwayne Wade ended with 25 points. Josh Richardson had 21 points, Kelly Olynyk had 15 points, Justise Winslow had 12 points and Bam Adebayo added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Up Next: The Warriors meet the Orlando Magic Thursday night in Orlando, Fla. Game time will be at 4 pm.