Tale of Two Halves: Miami HEAT’s 108-96 Win Sets Tone In Season Opener

Recap6 years ago3 min readGiancarlo Navas

Down three going into halftime, things felt pretty bad. Miami had a 113 defensive rating and had stretches where they looked like they couldn’t even get a quality shot. I felt like I actually knew less about the team after a half of real basketball than I did before I had seen them play.

The well-coached Orlando Magic kept sending multiple guys in the paint and cutting off Goran Dragic’s angles to score, especially off the pick-and-roll. Orlando was daring Miami’s shooters to make shots and it was working. Miami was 1-for-8 from 3 in the first half, and were at a deficit nearly the entire half.

All the excitement that festered up in the preseason was washing away, and the reality of sports was setting in: This team was going to struggle at times and it won’t look pretty.

Then, enter the second half. Miami outscored Orlando by 15 and corrected it’s defensive miscues to post a defensive rating of 85. And while the shooting was still not great in the second half (3-for-8 from 3), it was a well-needed improvement over what happened in the first half. Miami’s second unit looked great, providing enough offense late in the first half to keeping the game from getting out of hand. So… we byke?!

Probably not, but that doesn’t mean this season can’t be hella fun. Miami has youth and athleticism and will play fast. This season is about growth and the possibilities of tomorrow. They aren’t playing for a championship and there is a pretty decent chance they miss out on the postseason. But, that’s okay. Because while it may be a struggle to watch the Miami HEAT on some nights this season, Wednesday’s 108-96 win had its fair share of jump-out-of-your-seat-moments like this:

And this:

It’s the duality of this basketball season, and it was almost poetic how the HEAT’s first regular season game showed you both extremes it could be. It’s going to be fun guys; just expect some bumps and temper your expectations.

Advanced Stats Notes:

• Via SportsVU: Hassan Whiteside defended 11 shots at the rim and only one was made.

• Miami’s starting lineup of Dragic/Dion Waiters/Justise Winslow/Luke Babbitt/Whiteside had a 45.5 net rating with an offensive rating of 128.1 and an 82.6 defensive rating in 12 minutes. The unit also finished with a 96.4 pace and 59.2 true-shooting percentage.

• Miami’s closing lineup of Dragic/Tyler Johnson/Dion Waiters/Justise Winslow/Whiteside had a minus-seven net rating with an 82 offensive rating and an 89 defensive rating.

• Though a small sample size (three minutes), the T. Johnson/Rodney McGruder/Winslow/James Johnson/Willie Reed lineup in the fourth quarter blitzed Orlando: 147.8 offensive rating, 43.6 defensive rating, 104.2 net rating and a 109.69(nice) pace.

• Dragic and Hassan played 24 minutes together and in that time had a net rating of three.

• Miami had 27 assists as a team, last season Miami only averaged 20.

• Miami had 74 points in the paint against the Magic.