The Shaq and Flash show came to town with their two "I used to be an All-Star" players and supporting cast. The first quarter was promising with the Warriors taking a 16-14 lead, forcing the Heat to call a timeout. The Warriors played strong until the end of the quarter as the score ended up 26-26. Then everything fell apart. The Heat dominated from there on out taking a 10 point lead at half. Sure the Warriors made their runs, but you never got the feeling that they were going to come back. Everytime the Warriors made a run, there was Wade ending it with a dunk.
Olé! Matadors don't make good ball defenders.(AP Photo)
Boxscore | Recap
Defense continues to plague the Warriors. Perimeter defense stunk as Wade was able to get to the hole at will and pour in 32 points. They might have wanted to make him take some more jumpers though. 8 of his 19 shots were from the perimeter, everything else was on a drive. That's quite a bit of penetration. GP had a nice shooting game and Antoine lit them up from 3. It didn't seem like those two missed the whole game. Interior defense? Well they sure tried hard to not let Shaq dominate. Ostertag played well last night with 21 points and 10 boards. The Diogu-Murphy-Foyle-Biedrins-Taft big man couldn't seem to hold Kazaam out of the paint as he got almost any shot he wanted. Maybe they should have started the Hack-a-Shaq. Why? Well he made 1 free throw, missed 10.
When the Warriors were on offense, they struggled to get anything going consistently. They continued to jack up poor shots. Tough shots too early in the shot clock, an ill-timed 3, no ball movement, too much 1 on 1. Yea you've heard that before, but against a team that plays good D like the Heat, you don't have a chance. Their perimeter players are able to be more aggressive since either Shaq or Zo are down there to clean up the mess. Thus they are able to challenge more shots and cause more havoc on the perimeter.
One of my favorite plays of the night was Mike Dunleavy twice taking it strong to the hole and nearly dunking on Zo but instead drawing the foul. On the second one, he nearly rammed it home on Zo but Zo's big arm knocked him in the head and he missed, but converted the two free throws. It was funny to watch Zo get all upset thinking that he got all ball and that there was no foul. Or maybe he was that surprised to see Mike Dunleavy try to dunk on him. Either way, he was making a fool of himself complaining to the refs and throwing a temper tantrum. Props to Dun though for trying to throw it down on the big man. We need more of that from him. He even had a nice night, putting in 21 and even got 3 steals. What was interesting was that most of his buckets came when he either cut to the basket and got the ball or created his own shot with a drive or dribble and shoot. Whenever he seemed to get setup with a shot, he missed. Not sure why that was, but it looked like he needed to get into a rhythm by dribbling the ball first and then shooting. He couldn't just catch and shoot because when he did that, he nearly air balled a couple three's. I'm not sure if anyone else thought that, but maybe the Warriors should incorporate that into the gameplan more if that's how he likes to score.
Where was JRich last night? He played 34 minutes but didn't really stand out. Wade put the clamps on him. But he really didn't play much in the 2nd half either. He started the 3rd but didn't seem to play very long in it. Not sure why he wasn't in there for more minutes, it wasn't like Fisher was playing well.
This home court advantage thing doesn't seem to work out very well for the Warriors. They need to step it up and protect their home floor or else they're not going to make the playoffs. Sure they've had success on the road, but teams make it to the playoffs by winning a large percentage of their games at home. Let's hope tonight's Phoenix game returns a better result. With the Warriors at 17-17, they are in danger of dropping below .500 and further and further away from making the playoffs.WARRIOR WONDER:
Gotta give it to Baron. He stayed aggressive with the ball the whole game and took it into Shaq and Zo. He had trouble penetrating when Wade was guarding him, but everytime White Chocolate or GP were playing D on him, he took the ball to the whole strong and usually with some flair. He didn't always shoot the ball when penetrating, but he created for others and showed he wasn't afraid of the two big men. One of my favorite plays was the possession right after he was fouled but no call was made. He was clearly upset with the ref, but instead of complaining, he beat his man off the dribble, drove the ball into Shaq territory and jumped into Shaq to get a call. Most guards would avoid this collision but Baron wanted that foul call and he got it. But he not only jumped into Shaq for the foul and fell down, but he knocked Shaq to the floor too. How crazy is that? Shaq must have 100 pounds on him and Baron's able to knock him over? That's strong.