This game finally got away from the Warriors for the last time with 0.2 seconds to go in the fourth quarter after LeBron James nailed an exceedingly difficult fading away 3-pt shot over Iguodala's outstretched arms.
I say "finally got away", because it seemed like all night the Heat built 10 or 20 point leads only to see the Warriors repeatedly dig themselves out of said holes.
Mostly this game will be remembered for LeBron and Steph's 4th quarter heroics (Steph drove for an And1 layup that put the Warriors up 2 points before LeBron's game winner). There were some other important takeaways for me though.
Harrison Barnes has put together a string of games in which he has not looked like complete ass. That is certainly progress. I still like Harrison Barnes more when he doesn't dribble, but lately he seems to be taking a lot fewer of the forced mid-range pull-up jumpers that cause more groans than a Richard Sherman post-game interview. I haven't really changed my long-term opinion of where I see Harrison Barnes, as he still ultimately looks like a role player to me, but the team definitely needed him to play a whole lot better than he had been through the first 50 games of the season. And lately, I'll concede he's been "a whole lot better", even if it's just relative to his personal nadir.
Draymond Green has come up big time as a starter (tonight he had 11 rebounds and 4 blocks). Which means he basically is doing all the same things he does when he comes off the bench, only he's being given more minutes. It should be clear now that there are going to be situations against certain teams where small ball with Draymond and Lee as the 4/5 simply make sense regardless of Bogut's health. It's why Jackson has gone to that lineup in the past to the befuddlement of many fans, and why he will continue to go to it in the future. It just depends on the matchup.
It's good to see Jackson largely abandoning the en masse bench substitutions, even if his hand has been forced somewhat with the recent injuries to Lee and Bogut (and even more recently again to JON). It seems like the rotations are starting to make more sense, and the addition of Jordan Crawford has been tremendous. Well, that may be too strong a word. It's been pretty good though. It's incredible the difference between an actual NBA combo guard and a replacement level talent like Kent Bazemore who really was forced into a role he was never suited for in the first place.
Michael Beasley is going to be a free agent this off-season. He's shooting 57% TS on 27% USG with the Heat this season. Has he finally turned the corner on his career? I wonder what the market will be like for him. Could you see him coming off our bench? I think I could see that pretty easily actually.
Last thought before getting to the Warrior Wonder. Except for Steph and Barnes, the team now has a full week off until their next game on Wednesday against the Kings. Here's hoping the break truly gives these guys enough time to rest and recover for the home stretch of the season. There are now only 29 games left in the season, and my guess is we need to win 18-20 of those to hold on to the 8th spot, and maybe a few more to climb up to #6. They're going to need all hands on deck for sure.
I mean was it even a question?