This game was probably a lot closer than it should have been for the Miami Heat. With the Los Angeles Clippers missing their best player in Chris Paul, both Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford had huge scoring nights, combining for 74 points on 18-of-25 shooting from the field. These two players are essentially what kept the Clippers in this game for so long, and it took a Ray Allen deep three to seal the game for Miami with a little under a minute to go.
One of the most notable stats in this game was the high amount of assists being dished out by Miami. The defending champs set a franchise record for most assists in a quarter with 17 of their 18 shots being assisted. Miami ended the night with 33 assists in total, which proves how valuable ball movement is, especially for a ball club that thrives on 3-point shooting.
LeBron James also had another out-of-this-world game, notching 31 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds, three steals and a monster chase-down block. James has been elevating his game as of late, and this has been apparent in his averages over the last five games: 27.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 7.8 assists on 55 percent shooting. When James is in attack and facilitate mode, there is no one player or defensive scheme that can slow him down.
The way that Miami has been playing lately, it is clear that they are getting prepared for the playoffs. Head coach Erik Spoelstra has brought his rotation down to 9-10 players and is slowly preparing Greg Oden for a much larger role on Miami’s roster.
Great ball movement, aggressive defense leading to high turnovers for the opponent, and an ever-aggressive James were just some of the keys to how Miami won the ball game, and these traits need to carry over for not only the rest of this grueling six-game road trip, but for the rest of the season and the playoffs. Miami’s title hopes rest on it.