None of it mattered, because the game was at American Airlines Arena.
The Heat handed the Clippers one of their worst losses of this NBA season 111-89 in a game that looked very different from the first meeting between the two teams. Even with a 22 point victory, the final score didn’t reflect the beating the Heat gave out at home. That is the main factor about the Heat this season, the team seems to take their game to another level when in the friendly walls of the AAA.
Tonight, the defense didn’t allow either to get into a rhythm that could have given the Clippers a chance to win the game. While both Paul and Griffin were coming back from injuries, Miami didn’t take any chances. The Heat frustrated both players enough for each to get a technical foul within seconds of each other.
Nearly every Heat player stepped up their game tonight. Mario Chalmers defended Paul well and had his shooting stroke back. Rashard Lewis played tough defense inside, something that he is not known for. Shane Battier even had his three-point shooting back in sync. All these thing seem to happen more when the Heat are at home.
This has been trend that Miami has done more and more in their 25-year history. It’s almost a complete contrast from the 1990s when the team was known as the ‘Road Warriors.’
The Heat are also proving another conventional wisdom wrong with their home play. The team feeds off the passion of their fans, something that goes against the stereotype of the South Florida fan base being nonchalant.
The best example of this tonight was when LeBron James, who was on his way to having another efficient night on the court, decided to play a game of hot potato with a fan after the ball landed in the crowd near the end of the first half. The fan, a Honduran man named Adolfo who is on vacation, is now quickly becoming an Internet hit and was interviewed near the end of the game where he also recognized by Jeff Van Gundy as he was calling the game on ESPN for taking a picture with him earlier in the day.