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Heat 85, Wizards 82

Strange game.  Miami shoots 50 percent from the field, but it doesn't matter because the Wizards shot 19 more shots than the Heat.  The Wizards outrebound Miami by 10, turn them over 17 times, and still lose because they shot only 39 percent.  The Wizards bench, which should be depleted with all the injuries, completely dominates Miami's bench, led by great efforts from Andray Blatche (no surprise) and Brendan Haywood (a mild surprise), but it still doesn't matter because Miami's starters dominate the Wizards starters.  

These plus/minus numbers kind of tell the whole story.

Antonio Daniels: -13.
Jarvis Hayes: -10.
Etan Thomas: -11.
DeShawn Stevenson: -13.
Antawn Jamison: -11.
Donnell Taylor: +10.
Brendan Haywood: +9
Darius Songaila: +7
Roger Mason: +8
Andray Blatche: +6
Calvin Booth: +3.

Dwayne Wade: +7
Antoine Walker: +11
Alonzo Mourning: +4
Jason Williams: +8
Eddie Jones: +13
Everyone else: Below 0.

Normally, I'd say that these show that Eddie should have played the bench guys more, but most of their production came with Miami's subs in the game.  Brendan Haywood was dominating in the second quarter, but it was with Michael Doleac guarding him.  I guess all I can really say is that the Wizards were lucky to even be in the game, because Pat Riley spent way too long keeping his starters on the bench.  

At the same time, this game could have been won, and there was poor execution down the stretch.  In the New Jersey game, the blame should have been on Eddie, because he called for DeShawn Stevenson to isolate against Jason Kidd twice.  Tonight, it should probably go on the players.  Stevenson missed a reverse layup, and at the end of the game, Jamison passed out of the post to Daniels, the one guy who can't hit an outside shot.  Jamison has to hold onto that ball, or at the very least, not panic and kick it out so early.  The New Jersey debacle was poor planning; the Miami game was poor execution.

Still (and I can't stress this enough), games aren't just won in the final two minutes.  The starters have to play better than they did, and Jamison can't go one half scoring only 3 points.  If Jamison plays better in the first half, then none of the late-game problems would have ever happened.  Without Gilbert or Caron, this team is going to struggle if they have to keep playing close games, no matter what happens.  But if they play better in the first 40-45 minutes of the game, then none of that will matter.