Given those statistics you could only believe a team was blown out by their opponent. But the Miami Heat overcame a 19-point deficit and came within three points during Tuesday night's game at Boston, nonetheless in a losing effort.
What we saw was a Heat team lacking in offensive identity and overall continuity. However, we also saw a Heat team with resilience and resolve despite those struggles.
The point: This team learned plenty about themselves in their first loss and will only improve as the season progresses.
Had Miami won that game, it would have made their atrocious play early on "acceptable" - hidden behind the glory of a season-opening victory. Instead, Miami now has to own up to their mistakes and understand that lackluster efforts have game-changing consequences. Otherwise, carelessness will be ignored as long as wins keep racking up.
Entering Philadelphia, the Heat will already have the experience of what true hostility is like under their belt. Rattled, roughed up and pressured by a staunch Celtics team, Miami earned a much needed wake up call to begin the regular season. Expect them to counter with a stronger performance from the onset and a greater will to win.
* * *Big Three Stats
- Dwyane Wade: 13 points (4-16), 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 6 turnovers
- Chris Bosh: 8 points (3-11), 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block
- LeBron James: 31 points (10-21), 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 8 turnovers
- Combined Turnovers: 15
- Udonis Haslem: 8 points (3-7), 11 rebounds and 1 block
- Eddie House: 8 points (3-8), 2 assists and 1 steal