The Miami Heat rebounded from an embarrassing two-game stretch by pounding the New Orleans Hornets, 106-90. The win moves the Heat to 13-5 on the season and drops the Hornets to 5-14.
The Heat pulled away in the second quarter thanks to strong performances by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who led the assault. The Heat outscored the Hornets, 33-15, in the second quarter to enter halftime with a 17-point lead.
Miami experienced a brief scare in the first half when James went down with an apparent groin injury. However, the Heat's superstar returned to the game later in the frame.
The groin didn't look as if it bothered him late in the game, as James put up yet another outstanding stat line. He had 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
The Hornets looked outmatched throughout. They're a young team, and Miami's up-tempo style and talent overwhelmed them, as James, Wade and Bosh had their way offensively.
The Heat shot 58 percent for the game, their highest mark of the season.
LeBron James fell, and the whole nation reacted on Twitter. Tzvi Twersky of SLAM Magazine tweeted this when James was down, grabbing his groin:
Lebron James slips and goes down. Apparent groin injury. As of now, he's on the bench.— Tzvi Twersky (@TTwersky) December 9, 2012
After a loss to a terrible Wizards team and a defeat to the Knicks without Carmelo Anthony, people were starting to get concerned about the drive of this team. Fans seemed to be much happier after this performance. Heat Nation had this to say during the game:
Now this is Miami Heat basketball!!! #HEATNATION— HeatNation (@HEATNationTH) December 9, 2012
The biggest stretch of the game came in the second quarter, as the official NBA Twitter account noted. There, the Heat pushed ahead of the Hornets for good, and the big lead they established in this quarter was maintained for the remainder of the game.
NBA (@NBA) December 9, 2012
Grades for Key Heat Players
LeBron James: A
Like he is every night, James was brilliant. Despite the groin injury he sustained early in the game, James had 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
He attacked the basket at will, and his playmaking ability was on full display. He's just on fire right now; no one in the NBA is playing better.
Dwyane Wade: A+
After a slow start to the 2012 season, there were whispers about Wade's health, and worse, that he was getting old.
He looked pretty young in this contest.
Wade had 26 points; he handled the ball down the stretch and abused the Hornets' defense from the outside and the inside.
It was a great bounce-back game after his poor performance against the Knicks, in which he only scored 13 points.
Grades for Key Hornet Players
Ryan Anderson: A-
The Hornets were defeated, but the loss had nothing to do with Ryan Anderson.
The power forward lit the Heat up for 24 points, mostly coming from the outside. He was 4-of-6 from three-point range and also added five rebounds.
Austin Rivers: D
The rookie struggled all game against an athletic Miami defense. He only had five points on 2-of-6 shooting in 20 minutes of action.
Rivers was a minus-13 when he was on the floor.
Game MVP: Dwyane Wade
Wade was efficient in the victory, finishing with 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting. His jump shot looked pretty, and he seemed to have a little extra pep in his legs.
It was a great bounce-back game for Wade and should take a little bit of the pressure off him from the fans and media.
He looked like the Wade of old, and Miami needs him to continue to find success.