Heat Stay in Moment to Beat Pistons Despite LeBron's Upcoming Homecoming
Those fears of a letdown were put to rest early as James was in clear attack mode from the outset, ironically enough bringing to mind his days wearing a Cavs uniform, and the Heat never trailed on the way to an easy 97-72 victory at home against an overmatched opponent. The Heat hit 11 of their first 14 shots and didn't look back as they held on to the lead the entire game.
Heat Stay Focused on Task at Hand
Spoelstra's blackboard had the theme of "tonight" as he implored his team to attack with poise, play together and to protect the paint.
"We are in Miami," Spoelstra cautioned before the game. "We are not yet in Cleveland. That is going to be important tonight. We have to stay in the moment. It is critical that we come out and set the tone tonight with this game. We cannot get ahead of ourselves. We are in no position to look ahead in the schedule."
Chris Bosh was only needed for 29 minutes but poured in 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Afterward, he insisted the team wasn't going to take any team lightly instead of simply focusing on the Cavs game Thursday night.
"Just the way the season has gone on it's easy to block out what's happening the next day," he said. "We always just focus on the task at hand and we're really not in the front as far as standings are concerned so we really have to pay attention to teams and pay attention to what we're doing at the time. I think that helps our focus."
Pistons Provide Little Fight
The Pistons were listless throughout and very well may have been emotionally and physically drained after letting a lead in the fourth quarter slip away in a loss to the Orlando Magic the night before. Pistons coach John Kuester all but anticipated as much before the game.
"We're playing hard," he said. "Our concern is we're playing back-to-back and lost two tough games where we had a chance to win both of them."
None of the Pistons starters reached double figures in scoring as the team repeatedly committed unforced turnovers throughout the game and allowed the Heat to outscore them 14-4 on fast-break points.
James and Wade Take Turns Dominating the Game
Wade was hampered by foul trouble and was held to only one point in the first half as James led the way with 14 points along with five rebounds and three assists. Wade then took control of the steering wheel and got hot in the second half, much like their last game against the Washington Wizards, with 15 points while hitting 7-of-9 shots in nine minutes before they both were able to rest up early in anticipation of yet another back-to-back set.
"It's always good to start well," James said. "It gets you into a good rhythm."
With Wade by his side at the podium he also took a playful jab at his teammate.
"I'm starting to figure it out and I understand now what D-Wade is doing," he joked. "He doesn't like the first half. So that's where I make my mark and I already know in the third quarter he's going to start shooting."