The Golden State Warriors did all they could against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday night, but ran into one problem: LeBron James is pretty good at basketball.
James’ game-winning three-pointer with 0.2 seconds remaining gave the Heat a 111-110 victory over the Warriors at Oracle Arena, stunning the sellout crowd and the national TV audience.
It was an extremely difficult shot over the out-stretched arm of Andre Iguodala — who couldn’t have played any better defense on LeBron — but the best player in the game showed why he deserves that title. James faded, fired, and drilled it, breaking the hearts of the Warriors.
Golden State actually rallied from down 21 points in third quarter to make it a game. They went on a 33-9 run to conclude the third quarter and begin the fourth to take an 87-84 lead early in the fourth. The Heat then reeled off seven straight points, but the Warriors battled back every time Miami made a run. Iguodala and Curry both made key baskets down the stretch — Curry completed a three-point play with the Warriors down 108-107 to put them on top — but in the end, it was too much LeBron James.
James finished just shy of a triple-double with 36 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Chris Bosh added 19 points, and Michael Beasley was efficient off the bench with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
For the Warriors, Curry led the way with 29 points and seven assists. David Lee had his first double-double since returning from injury, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds. However, the Warriors were clearly affected by the absence of Andrew Bogut, who missed his fourth straight game with a shoulder injury. Without their defensive anchor, the Heat scored 56 points in the paint and exploited the Warriors on offense.
Tale of the Tape
- Field-goal percentage: 48.2% (40-83)
- Three-point percentage: 56.3% (9-16)
- Rebounds: 43
- Assists: 22
- Turnovers: 14
- Bench points: 26
- Field-goal percentage: 53.8% (42-78)
- Three-point percentage: 45.5% (10-22)
- Rebounds: 35
- Assists: 25
- Turnovers: 12
- Bench points: 41
Should They Have Doubled LeBron?
The final play of the game will be dissected and talked about in the days to come, especially since this is the Warriors’ final game before the All-Star break.
First of all, the Erik Spoelstra chose not to call a timeout, with his team down two with 14 seconds to go. That essentially meant the Warriors needed to organize their defense, and decide how to stop LeBron James, because there was no doubt that he would have the ball in his hands.
It ended up being an isolation at the top of the arc — LeBron vs. Iguodala — as the Warriors chose not to bring the double-team. In retrospect, had either Klay Thompson or Draymond Green rotated over and doubled LeBron, the play would have resulted in a wide-open layup for Mario Chalmers, or an open three for Chris Bosh:
Would you rather have any of those choices, or LeBron James chucking up a miraculous, fadeaway three-pointer over a good defender?
Mark Jackson calls LeBron James “the greatest small forward that’s ever played this game”
— Larry Brown (@LBSports) February 13, 2014
What’s on Tap
The Warriors will enjoy a week off before resuming play Feb. 19 in Sacramento.