Long bouts of inactivity on both ends of the court? Lottery teams keeping up with the league’s best team for 48 minutes? A desperate late attempt to erase over nearly 40 minutes of mediocre basketball?
Sounds like the Miami Heat won an early regular season game.
In another installment of masterpiece theater, a 14-point fourth quarter deficit was erased with three consecutive three-pointers by Chris Bosh that enabled a 99-98 victory to extend the winning streak to ten games.
Bosh finished with 22 points, 13 in the fourth, on 13 shots and nine rebounds in a contest where the Heat looked genuinely disinterested in performing up to their usual expectations.
Between the second and third quarters, Miami was outscored by 15 on account of a Bobcats’ defense that kept the perimeter closed off and in passing lines, as well as a Kemba Walker-Gerald Henderson backcourt that began to get hot.
Charlotte led 79-65 with 9:14 left after a Walker free throw and were in position to go ahead by more after a Dwyane Wade turnover. A minute later, however, LeBron James entered the game, and the Heat looked more like that team that seems to pull off these types of wins once a week.
LeBron would score six points and assist on another five over the next three minutes to cut a 12-point lead into three. The run was ended by four consecutive points by Charlotte that put the deficit at seven with 3:59 remaining.
Usually at this point I would you tell how the losing team used this game to learn from their mistakes and not play apathetically for a majority of the game. But the Heat aren’t like most teams, since they’re probably the only team in the NBA that is that good to steal nearly every one of these games.
It was at this point where LeBron passes the torch to Bosh to finish off one of the most improbable victories of the ‘Big Three’ era.
Bosh proceeds to begin his string of 13 consecutive points with a pair of free throws that are paralleled by a Josh McRoberts shot on the other end. 14 seconds later, Bosh responds with a dunk off a drive by Mario Chalmers.
After an Al Jefferson miss, Bosh hits his first three; a shot that spins across the rim and bounces on every part of the rim before falling. Jefferson proceeds to respond with an and-one layup on Bosh, but misses the free throw, keeping the Heat deficit at four with 2:17 left.
Less than 20 seconds later, Bosh receives another Wade pass from the right elbow and makes his second consecutive three-pointer from straightaway; this one hitting nothing but net.
After Kemba Walker missed a difficult three-pointer, Miami brought the ball up down by one with a minute-and-a-half remaining. With Wade attracting attention on the baseline, he noticed Bosh near the same spot he the previous two and whipped it over to him.
Bosh, who was wide-open for a third consecutive time, drilled the three to give the Heat their first lead since late in the second quarter. That play was almost met with a response by Jefferson, who missed a putback dunk and saw the tip go out to Mario Chalmers.
Aided by a Norris Cole takedown of Walker in the open court, Chalmers flushed his first dunk of the year to give Miami a 95-91 lead with 23 seconds left. Charlotte would cut the lead back to twice over the next eight seconds, but were met with a pair of LeBron James free throws; four of his 26 points on the night.
But because a Heat game is never truly over until the clock reads 0’s, and even then it may not be, Norris committed one of the more questionable plays of the year, fouling Kemba Walker on a three-pointer with seven-tenths of a second left.
Miami knows enough about less than a second remaining to want to avoid these types of situations. It keeps happening, though, and it usually always leads to something that will end up on a highlight reel somewhere, whether for the right or wrong reasons.
Walker made his first two, meaning Charlotte could actually win the game if Kemba missed the free throw and had the ball tipped in.
In Bobcat fashion, however, Kemba banked in the free throw and the game ended with the thud that was emitted off the rim.
Miami scored a season-high 38 points in the fourth quarter, despite only scoring 14 the previous quarter. In fact, they scored more points in the final frame than the second and third quarters combined.
The Heat finished shooting 52 percent from the field and 44 percent from beyond the arc, yet it feels like they definitely stole this away. Charlotte played as hard as any team I’ve seen this year, consistently playing with maximum effort and making smart plays on both ends of the floor, yet it was not enough for three minutes of Heat basketball.
When is it ever? Charlotte got 27 points on 22 shots from Walker, 17 points from Gerald Henderson and 16 points on 14 shots and 13 rebounds from Jefferson. Even Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made a jump shot.
They even made free throws for a change. They ranked 29th in the league in free throw percentage, averaging 69 percent from the line, but converted 86 percent of their 28 attempts tonight.
Miami almost had you convinced there that they weren’t going to comeback from this one, just to switch things up for a change.
But then Heat things happened. And the result was something that has Heat things happening all over it. Give credit: this team knows how to put on a show every single night.
It never gets old.