The application assignment was simple: select a video from the list provided and write a 500-1000 word article on it. The video I chose was a game recap of a Miami Heat/Minnesota Timberwolves match-up from late December. Here's the link for the video if you'd like to see it.
Miami Heat v. Minnesota Timberwolves
LeBron James arrived at the Target Center to celebrate his birthday, but while most birthday traditions involve receiving gifts, it was LeBron’s pinpoint pass to Dwyane Wade in the final seconds that gifted the Miami Heat with their fourth consecutive win to open the season.
James opened the contest with 15 first quarter points, en route to a 34 point, 10 assist, 8 rebound birthday, but despite James’ statistical dominance, the Miami Heat [4-0] struggled to control the game. Although Kevin Love’s 25-point 12-rebound performance paced the Timberwolves [0-3], it was rookie sensation Ricky Rubio’s 12 points and 12 assists that stole the show. Despite the 5 turnovers, Rubio’s passes were often punctured by throw-downs from the likes of Anthony Randolph and fellow rookie Derrick Williams. Rubio used the absence of free agent signee J. J. Barea, sidelined with a hamstring injury, to wow the Wolves’ crowd against one of the league’s premier franchises.
Much has been made of Heat head coach Eric Spolestra’s new “Space and Pace” offense, a strategy geared toward utilizing the strengths of his athletes, specifically James and Wade. Arguably two of the league’s greatest transition players, this new offensive out-look was on display early and often in Minnesota. Alley-oops abound, the Heat found themselves repeatedly streaking out for ferocious dunks. One particular sequence included Dwyane Wade blocking a Wes Johnson corner three-pointer, then streaking up the sideline in time to catch the lob from rookie Norris Cole. But despite the myriad monster dunks, Minnesota hung around.
While the Miami Heat kept the Wolves at arm’s length through most of the first half, Minnesota’s three point barrage managed to keep the team within striking distance, and eventually allowed the up-start squad a brief advantage late. Rubio’s three-pointer with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter gave the Timberwolves a four point edge. After a missed LeBron three that would have given the Heat back the lead, Battier fouled Rubio, who made one of two free throws. On the ensuing possession, LeBron barreled over a 6-foot 9-inch Anthony Tolliver for the “and-1”, much to the chagrin of Wolves’ coach Rick Adelman and the crowd.
With the score tied at 99 entering the final minute, Wolves’ forward Anthony Tolliver drove for the dunk only to be fouled by Chris Bosh. Tolliver managed to convert only one of two free throws, which allowed Dwyane Wade to regain the lead for the Heat with a long, step-back jump-shot with 33 seconds remaining. With the game on the line and the Wolves’ crowd howling in front of their seats, star forward Kevin Love drove the lane only to miss an awkward runner.
But Anthony Tolliver snagged the rebound and was fouled on his out-back attempt. With 8 seconds left, Tolliver bounced the first of two free throws through and shrugged at the inelegant attempt. However, with the chance to put his team up by one, Tolliver missed the second free throw and Heat forward Udonis Haslem secured the rebound.
Two nights after struggling with the Charlotte Bobcats only to be rescued by a Dwyane Wade game-winner, the Miami Heat faced another daunting task. Eric Spolestra drew up the side-out play, and with 6 seconds remaining, LeBron gave a gift on his own birthday. Rolling around a Chris Bosh rub-screen at the top of the key, Dwyane Wade beat rookie Ricky Rubio to the rim and caught LeBron’s lob from the far-side hash mark. Finishing the night with 19 points, it was Wade’s final bucket that gave the Heat a two point lead.
In the final seconds, Rubio found Wayne Ellington for a decent look, but the reserve guard couldn’t finish the shot and birthday boy LeBron James and the Miami Heat left the Target Center with a 103-101 victory.