HEAT 96, MAGIC 70
Wade leads Miami Heat rout in Big 3's first game at home
Dwyane Wade scored 26 points to lead the Heat, which played its most complete game of the young season in thumping the rival Magic.
The show officially started Friday night.
After beginning the season with a measured pace, the Heat flashed its considerable potential for the NBA to behold Friday in the team's home opener at AmericanAirlines Arena. In its most complete performance of the early season, the Heat routed in-state rival Orlando Magic 96-70 in a game that showcased the home team's offensive and defensive prowess. It was the first loss this sesason for the Magic (1-1), which went undefeated in the preseason.
Dwyane Wade led the Heat (2-1) in scoring for the second game in a row. In just his third performance since returning to the team from a hamstring injury, Wade scored 26 points, shooting 9 of 20 from the field. He scored a team-high 12 points in the third quarter, which was the best 12 minutes of basketball the Heat has played together since LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to Miami this summer to join Wade.
``We really wanted to dominate the third quarter and we did that,'' Wade said.
A 14-0 run to begin the second half gave the Heat a 15-point lead three minutes into the third quarter. James started the spurt with a three-pointer and Wade followed with two of his own. James capped the run with two field goals.
Although the run was certainly impressive, the highlight of the third quarter was the Heat's defensive play. The Magic had but one field goal through the first seven minutes of the quarter, shooting just 1 of 13 from the field. The Heat extended its third-quarter lead to 71-49 before James was assessed a technical foul with 4:39 left in the period.
The Heat outscored the Magic 28-10 in the third quarter with the Magic shooting just 2 of 20 from the field in that decisive period.
``In the second half, [the defense] generated our opportunities,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ``The guys now can't go back on this. They've shown me what we're capable of defensively, and I'm going to hold them to that.''
James scored 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field in his debut at AmericanAirlines Arena. He added six rebounds and seven assists with just three turnovers. Entering Friday's game, James had 17 turnovers in his first two games of the season combined. Before Friday's game, Spoelstra said cutting down on turnovers would be the next step in the progression of the team's offense. The Heat had 12 turnovers Friday.
James altered his uniform slightly for the home opener. He played without the compression sleeve he has worn since injuring his right arm last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also had a little fun for his first regular-season game in his new building. James wore a mouthpiece that featured vampire fangs.
``Happy Halloween,'' James said after the game.
The Halloween-themed protection was fitting for Friday's game because the Heat was scary good. A portion of the crowd began chanting ``Lakers [stink]! Lakers [stink]!'' with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Moments later, Wade hustled under the basket to put back an air ball by Eddie House that gave the Heat a 20-point lead with 2:10 left in the quarter.
The Heat has outscored its three opponents this season 86-60 in the third quarter. For the second game in a row, reserve James Jones gave the Heat a boost off the bench with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting from three-point range. Jones scored 20 off the bench (6 of 9 from three-point range) on Wednesday in the Heat's victory against Philadelphia.
Jones drained his third three-pointer to start the fourth quarter, giving the Heat a commanding 82-55 lead. Heat forward Udonis Haslem added 11 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, matching up against Magic center Dwight Howard throughout most of the game. Bosh finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Howard, the Magic's All-Star center, finished with a team-high 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting but was held scoreless in the second half and fouled out with 5:41 left. Magic guard Vince Carter left the game with six minutes left in the second quarter with an apparent back injury. He scored just four points on 1-of-5 shooting from the field. Magic point guard Jameer Nelson scored 10 points and Ryan Anderson had 12 off the bench.
The Heat held the Magic to 45 points in the first half. Fueled by the energy of opening night at AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat built an 18-10 lead behind quick work by James and Wade. The decibel level inside the sold-out arena reached an ear-piercing level when James found Wade for an alley-oop. And, with that, the party was on.
``[Friday night] was the culmination so far, but we can't take that for granted,'' Spoelstra said. ``These are the very early stages of this.''