The Miami Heat used a great team effort to win their season opener against the Charlotte Hornets, 104-94. 10 players totaled double-digit minutes, and only Chris Bosh played more than 30 minutes. Miami shot great from behind the arc at 60 percent, thanks in large part to Gerald Green, who set a franchise record for three-pointers made on opening night with five.
Bosh, Green, and Miami legend Dwyane Wade led the team to victory. They put up 21, 19, and 20 points, respectively, in the win. Bosh was the only Miami player to finish the game with a double-double, as he also put up 10 rebounds.
Justise Winslow made his NBA debut tonight. He played fantastic. Sure, he only scored two points, but two of those points came on an explosive dunk that showed the kind of potential that Winslow has. Most notably, Winslow played fantastic defense, and he proved that he can be a great wing defender. In just 25 minutes, his +/- was 26, which helps show how good his overall performance was.
Hassan Whiteside was one of the more disappointing players on the night. His early struggles when guarding Al Jefferson limited his minutes, as he only finished with 20. Whiteside did grab six rebounds and blocked two shots, but his offense was nothing special, finishing with just four points on four shot attempts and zero assists, unsurprisingly.
Dwyane Wade’s 20-point performance resulted in him passing Chet Walker and the great Isiah Thomas in career points, now putting him at 51st on the all-time scoring list. Obviously, with more quality performances like tonight’s, Wade will continue to move up the list.
Though Winslow seemed like the Heat’s only above-average defender, the team did a very good job playing team defense. Chris Bosh did a good job in anchoring the defense, and he had a good night on that side of the ball. Miami held Charlotte to just 33 combined points in the middle quarters, showing just how important the defense was in building the big lead.
Along with the defense, the success from beyond the three-point arc was a very good sign for this team. Gerald Green played a huge part in that, shooting 5 for 8, showing that he will provide some quality shooting off of the bench this season. Bosh made two of his five attempts from long range. Luol Deng was the most surprising, shooting 3 for 3 from downtown. He struggled with shooting (offense in general, really) last season, and it would be nice to see him find success all season.
After an off day, the Heat will travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers in a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview. Another great three-point shooting night, as well as a whole team effort, are the keys for Miami to defeat the defending conference champions.