There were reports that the average ticket price for Thursday night’s preseason matchup between the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets was $250. That’s more than the average price of a ticket of Sunday’s matchup between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts.
While the fans in Brooklyn did revel in Jason Kidd’s jersey retirement, they received little excitement from the game itself. Dwyane Wade sat out and the Heat trotted out a lineup that featured Jarvis Varnado and Joel Anthony playing in the same frontcourt, a main enabler of why the Heat only scored 62 points in a 24-point loss to the Nets.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh each dropped 16 points, but they were the only ones on the Heat to score in double-digits. Mario Chalmers dropped nine points, but no other player had more than five.
James added on five rebounds, four assists and a steal to bulk up his statline.
Meanwhile, the Nets had four players score in double-figures, led by Brook Lopez’s 14 points.
There were still points of encouragement from the Heat, despite the disturbingly low point total. For one, Chris Bosh has continued his torrid pace of getting to the rim and drawing fouls. After taking 21 in his previous four preseason contests, Bosh got to the line and attempted a preseason-high ten free throws, but only made six of them.
Bosh also grabbed nine rebounds, four offensive, nabbed three steals and blocked one shot in nearly 30 minutes worth of playing time.
Poor free throw shooting for Miami was a trend last night. They were a putrid 15-of-35 from the line, with Roger Mason being the only Heat player to shoot better than 50 percent from the line and that was on only one attempt.
LeBron shot 1-of-4, Chalmers was 4-of-8, Norris Cole was 2-of-4, Joel Anthony was 0-for-2 and Eric Griffin was 1-of-6. Add that all up and you get a professional basketball team collectively shooting 43 percent on 35 free throw attempts.
Hopefully this only remains an issue in the preseason. On top of poor free throw shooting, the Heat were also miserable from the three-point line for a second consecutive game, draining only five of their 17 attempts.
James, Chalmers, Cole, Mason and James Jones each had a three-pointer. Jones, who started in place of Wade, needed five attempts to make a single three. The Heat shooters were getting open for their long-distance shots, but saw few of them fall.
Cole and Mason in particular struggled with their shots, with the two players combining to shoot 2-of-15 overall for only nine points, while also combining for five of Miami’s 14 turnovers.
On top of playing without Wade, the Heat also played without Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, Ray Allen, Greg Oden, Michael Beasley and Rashard Lewis. Options were low, which is why we probably saw one of the most offensively-inept frontcourts in NBA history when Anthony and Varnado stepped out onto the court for the first time.
The lineup yielded little on the offensive end, resulting in the Heat having only 21 points by the midway point of the second quarter. Bringing back James and Bosh facilitated some more scoring to bump up Miami’s first half scoring total to 28.
James and Bosh would both play nearly the entire third quarter, but sat out in a fourth quarter that resulted in only nine points for the Heat. It’s what tends to happen when arguably the best scorer in the lineup is either Norris Cole or Eric Griffin.
Griffin also had one of the few highlights for the Heat when he hurdled Nets’ big man Mason Plumlee.
Miami comes home to play the San Antonio Spurs Saturday night. It’s doubtful the game will carry the same weight it had a few months ago when the two squads were dueling for the NBA championship in Game 7.