Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic: Behind the Eight Ball
It's not quite time to throw in the towel on the season, but after last night's 96-80 loss to the Orlando Magic, it's probably time to start digging in the linen closet for one.
Wade did what he could what with that four game absence rust still lingering on him. He went 6-for-17 from the floor, finishing the night with a solid 21-point, 5-rebound, and 5-assist performance. But Michael Beasley continued his Gone Missin' Tour 2000, shooting 0-for-4 and finishing the night with a whopping one point. Quentin Richardson made the most of his starting time by finishing with three more points than Beasley.
Not to be outdone by the starters' crap-tastic outing, the Heat bench was equally atrocious. Udonis Haslem led the way with 7 points on a 3-for-8 night. Meanwhile, J.J. Redick came off the Magic bench and lit things up with a 15-point night, drawing seven fouls and making all seven of his free throws. (Seriously, Heat, if we're gonna let some dude off the opposing team's bench go all Ike Turner on our nuts all night, don't let it be J.J. f-ing Redick! Jesus!)
As sure as a Jermaine O'Neal fade away that clanks off the side of the rim, this Heat team is all Wade and not much else. Late in the third, Eric Spoelstra sat Wade to rest him for the stretch run. The Magic held a 61-58 lead at the time. But with D-Wade riding the pine, that lead quickly turned to a 76-63 score, and Orlando never looked back. Watch how a 3-point deficit turns into a 12-point deficit after a coach benches his lone All-Star player. Maybe they are Magic. Or maybe the Heat sans Wade just suck.
The 29-31 Heat head home to host Golden State on Tuesday night with 22 games remaining. Now would be an excellent time to stop the whole crapping-the-playoffs-away thing.