I pictured this game to be like walking through the scorching levels of hell, while all our beloved Puppies all melted into the ground, piece by piece. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. Until the third quarter, that is.
In what was one of the better halves of basketball this year, the Wolves made this one incredibly tight. Thanks to some big shots and the outrageous hustle from Kevin Love, the Wolves played out of their minds and hung with, no, outplayed the Heat in the first half in tonight’s big contest.
The tilt started off like any other, Love was playing off his ass, and I mean straight to the grind. His hustle and strength created plays on the offensive end. Too bad energy never accounts for anything, especially when you’re facing some of the league’s most elite. Through the first half the Heat proved why it only takes three to win. They had the occasional James Jones three pointer or Mike Bibby dribble-drive but the box score doesn’t lie; there were three Heat players in double-digits and they are easily namable.
Anywho, the first concluded with the Heat in a comfortable lead. Then there was momentum shift. Like a lightning bolt shot out of the sky, the Wolves found some life. And coming from our end against the mighty Heat is something remarkable. It all started with an alley-oop, or lack-thereof, that is. On a brief fast break, Lebron dribbled down the sideline, threw a lob to Wade and he immediately tossed it back to James. In a split second James soared upwards but collided directly with Anthony Tolliver, losing the oop in the process. No foul was called and the Wolves found a dunk of their own on the other end to tie the game. After exchanging baskets for a few possessions, the Wolves ended the half with a one-point lead. It felt like it should be enough to go into the second half with some confidence to keep it close. That wasn’t the case.
The Heat came out of the tunnel fuming, and thus the Heat Wave commenced. In a matter of only five minutes, the Heat found themselves with a 21-point lead. Missed shots, lackluster defense, it all contributed to the brutal 23-1 run. And from then on out it only got uglier. Half-court alley-oops and typical D-Wade drives only strengthened the beating.
At that point all the starters found themselves on the bench and it was basically over. So, although the Wolves fought with some passion in the first and energized the crowd to its maximum extent, it was never much of a contest. Whenever you play the Heat you have to realize the potent power they truly have and teams as small and puny as the Wolves never really have a chance from the get-go.
One interesting tid-bit to note was the rough match-up between Martell Webster and Lebron James. As Beasley found himself in foul trouble and Wes Johnson was losing confidence, Webster stepped in. Webster hasn’t produced much of anything lately; he’s actually only scored nine points in the last three games, but it goes beyond his scoring woes. As he stepped in, everyone was wishing for a breakout performance and he delivered. His shots kept falling and his confidence was rising, enough to start tussling with the King himself. While the game progressed, the two started jostling and eventually exchanged words at one point in the night. The morale of the matchup was the reluctance of seeing one of our wings not taking any crap by anyone and just going out there and playing. All year long we’ve lacked that consistency at those positions and we’ve suffered for it. Hopefully this is the wake-up type of performance that is going to spark him to perform better through the year.
That just about sums it up, not much else to say about this one. Next up the Wolves travel to Memphis to take on some scorching Grizzlies. Here’s to being excited for the season to be at end.