On a night that featured a career milestone for the best basketball player on the planet, the Miami Heat began the game with an onslaught of offense, but in the end, they blew a large lead in dropping a road decision to the Sacramento Kings, 108-103, in overtime.
As for the aforementioned history, Heat forward Lebron James passed Larry Bird for 30th place on the all-time NBA scoring list, and he did so with flare. LBJ punctuated the history-making bucket (and his 21,792nd point) by making it a windmill dunk to give Miami a 21-6 lead and he later passed Gary Payton for 29th on the all-time list in the midst of the overtime period. While it wasn’t a hiccup-free night for “the King”, he also finished with 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists, including 3 consecutive threes to give the Heat a semblance of life in overtime. The 21-6 lead turned into a 32-19 1st quarter advantage, but as you can see from the final score, the Kings soundly outplayed Miami for the final 40+ minutes and that continued into the overtime.
Sacramento got a huge night from DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 27 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and as a team, the Kings shot a very solid 49.4% from the floor against Miami’s swarming defense. One of Miami’s trademarks is usually their ability to cause turnovers (and thus, overcome hot shooting from the opposition), and tonight was no different, as Sacramento coughed it up 22 times. In the end, however, the reason that Sacramento was able to hold on was a deep-shooting barrage from Rudy Gay (who finished with 26 points) and Isaiah Thomas (20 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds) down the stretch, and the Heat certainly did their part in handing them the win.
Not every night can be an “on” game, even for the champs, but Miami certainly revealed that they are less than bulletproof without Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen on the floor. This was an extremely fun game to watch (props to the Sacramento crowd for lifting it a bit), and perhaps the Kings can parlay the win into some momentum.