Warriors overwhelm the Miami Heat, Win 123-95
On Sunday, December 12, the Golden State Warriors (17-6) traveled to south beach to take on the Miami Heat (11-11). The Warriors were looking to extend their winning streak to three games, while the Heat were looking to get above .500 against one of the best teams in the NBA. The Warriors were coming off a beautiful beatdown of the Orlando Magic, in which they dished out a season-high 46 assists. In the Heat’s last game, they outlasted Dwight Howard and the Charlotte Hornets and won 105-100. The Warriors would be playing this game without Andre Iguodala, who was still resting his knee after playing 35 minutes against the Lakers. The Warriors would go on to win the game 123-95.
The first quarter saw the Heat come out and shoot the lights out from beyond the three point line, while the Warriors did the opposite. The Heat went 5-8 from three (62.5%), while the Warriors went 4-12 (33%). The Warriors poor three point shooting was basically universal with the exception of Stephen Curry, who went 3-4 from deep. Stephen Curry led all scorers in the first quarter with 16 points, and the next highest on the Warriors was Zaza Pachulia with six points. Kevin Durant struggled in the opening quarter, going 1-6, while missing a couple open threes and was unable to finish on a drive to the hoop. On the bright side, the Warriors only committed one turnover, and were able to shoot 11 free throws, which they made nine of. After the first quarter, the Heat led the Warriors 36-33.
In the second quarter, the Miami Heat were still able to make 50% of their threes, while the Warriors percentage dipped to 31.2%. Outside of the three point shooting battle though, the Warriors outshot the Heat, with the Warriors shooting 50% and the Heat shooting 47.7%. It did not feel like the Warriors were shooting 50%, as they missed several wide open shots and blew various layups. In the middle of the quarter, Shaun Livingston was ejected from the game after he made contact with a ref, so the Warriors would be without their two non-starting veterans who run the offense with the reserves. The Warriors leading scorer was still Stephen Curry, who had 20 points on 7-10 shooting. The Heat’s leading scorer was Goran Dragic, who had 14 points, but the Heat did a much better job of spreading out the scoring than the Warriors. At the half, all nine Heat players that played scored at least three points, whereas only 9 out of the 11 Warriors who saw the floor scored points, and four of the nine who scored only had two points. The Warriors led the Heat going into halftime, 62-60.
In the third quarter, the Warriors took over, and raised their FG% to 56.9% primarily on the backs of Steph and KD. Steph finished the quarter with 30 points, while KD was close behind with 24. The Heat were still outshooting the Warriors from three, but the Warriors were able to drive to the hoop with Hassan Whiteside out. The most impressive stat for the Warriors was their lack of turnovers, as they only had four of them through three quarters. Now, all four came from KD, who despite his 24 points, had an up-and-down game. Only three Warriors were in double digit scoring, but the Heat only had two players with more than 10 points. After three quarters, the Warriors led 99-77.
The fourth quarter was basically just the Warriors running out the clock with their bench, and their bench was better than the Miami bench, as they outscored the heat in the quarter, 24-18. The bench was tremendous down the stretch, and the only player who didn’t score was Shaun Livingston, who was ejected in the second quarter. The Warriors leading scorer was Steph with 30, KD trailed him with 24, and Klay was third with 19. The fourth quarter was not great for the Warriors on a turnover front, as they rose their total from four to nine. The Warriors finished with 32 assists, which is a bit less than their 46 against Orlando, but it was still great nonetheless. The Warriors beat the Heat, 123-95.
There wasn’t much to take away from this game, as the Warriors have continued to play extremely well, as they should. They know that they are the best team in the league and could take down any team, any time they want. The Warriors main issue is complacency, and that can be seen when they make sloppy passes and surrender leads late in games, but on this road trip, the Warriors have played with urgency and it has been a welcome sight.
I came into this game fully expecting to lose this game in a heartbreaking way, just like they did last year against the Heat. It seemed destined to happen this year because the team had two off nights in Miami, and I’ll let you imagine all the things that go down on off nights in south beach. I expected the Warriors to come out and play sloppy, which they didn’t, and they were able to just completely dismantle the Heat from the second quarter on.
A quick side note is that Derek Jeter was sitting courtside, and while all the rumors swirl about the potential Giancarlo Stanton to San Francisco trade, I was really hoping to see him have to take a very important phone call in the middle of the game, which would lead to me getting a notification on my phone saying that Stanton wants to be a Giant. Well, that didn’t happen, but it was cool to see the new Marlins GM watch the Warriors play.
The Warriors play their next game tomorrow, Monday, December 4, at 5 p.m. against the New Orleans Pelicans.