Sacramento Kings vs. Miami Heat: Game Grades and Analysis for Heat

Christopher Walder@@WalderSportsContributor IIDecember 21, 2013

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 20: Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat shoots against the Sacramento Kings on December 20, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright NBAE 2013 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

The Miami Heat (20-6) put up a season high in points as they defeated the Sacramento Kings (7-18) convincingly with a 122-103 win at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday night. 

Things didn't come easy to the Heat early on as Sacramento scored 36 points in the opening quarter, which is the most Miami has allowed any team to score this season. The team rallied to take a 67-61 lead into the half, but the Kings were still shooting 66.7 percent from the field. 

The defensive intensity was taken up a notch in the final two quarters as the defending NBA champions held the Kings to just 42 points on a still respectable 48.6 percent shooting in the second half.

Despite hitting 58.1 percent of their shots for the game, the Kings just couldn't hit their freebies from the charity stripe, missing 14 of their 24 attempts. 

Head coach Erik Spoelstra had nothing but good things to say about the way his team executed on offense from start to finish.

Miami has now scored over 100 points in each of its past 13 games against Sacramento.


Key Players

LeBron James, Small Forward

Poor Ben McLemore.

LeBron James posterized the Sacramento Kings rookie with a vicious slam dunk in the first quarter, providing fans all over the country with a new screensaver for the holiday season.

It's the gift that keeps on giving.

His 13 points in the first half extended his streak of scoring in double figures to 521, which is the fifth-longest streak in NBA history. 

James finished the night with 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists in a little over 30 minutes.

The four-time NBA MVP did his part. The Kings had little to no answer for James, but frankly, that was pretty much the case for everyone on the Heat on this night.

Grade: A +


Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard

So Dwyane Wade is a three-point shooter now?

Prior to the game, Wade had just two three-pointers made on the season, but by the end of the night, he had matched that with two more to bring his total to four.

No one is going to confuse him for teammate Ray Allen anytime soon, but with Sacramento playing such lackluster defense, Wade had free rein to take those kinds of shots.

This was the fourth straight game where Wade has scored 20 or more points. He had 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes. 

Wade was the only one of Miami's Big Three to see the floor in the fourth quarter, but that was just to err on the side of caution in case Sacramento decided to make a run.

He also makes one heck of a wheelbarrow, in case you were unaware. 

Grade: A +


Chris Bosh, Center

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 20: Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Sacramento Kings on December 20, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this phot
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

The eight-time NBA All-Star had a better showing in the first half against the Sacramento Kings than he did the entire game in a 97-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers on December 18 (15 points and eight rebounds).

By halftime, Chris Bosh had already scored 19 points on 13 shots. The interior defense of Sacramento gave Bosh little to no trouble down low, so it all looked pretty effortless on his part.

He had an advantage over DeMarcus Cousins in the speed and agility department, which he exploited a great deal. 

It was a back-and-forth battle between the two big men throughout the night. The offense was plentiful and the defense was minimal. If you're a fan of that kind of play, then you must have been in heaven.

In 25 minutes, Bosh would finish with 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting. He also grabbed eight rebounds.

His services weren't required late in the game because the final result was no longer in question.

Grade: A +


Mario Chalmers, Point Guard

This was the seventh straight game in which Mario Chalmers had multiple steals for the Heat, finishing the game with four.

With James and Bosh on the sidelines in the fourth quarter, Chalmers looked to score and help Miami preserve its behemoth of a lead. He had seven in the period before being pulled in the final moments for James Jones.

He missed just two shots all evening, scoring 16 points and chipping in five assists, along with those aforementioned four steals. 

Chalmers also had a solid defensive showing against Isaiah Thomas, holding him to just 4-of-11 shooting and 1-of-6 from behind the arc. 

Grade: A 


Shane Battier, Power Forward

I almost forgot that Shane Battier was capable of scoring the basketball. He had attempted just one shot over his past two games.

It was nice to see his three-point shot return against Sacramento. He had three over his past six games, but three in total against the Kings.

He only had four rebounds on the night, but his willingness to put his body on the line and box out some of the larger frontcourt players of the Kings gave his teammates more of an opportunity to crash the glass. 

Nine points in 24 minutes is how Battier ended the night. 

Grade: B


Ray Allen, Sixth Man

Is there any chance the Miami Heat can enrol Allen in the 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Contest?

One dunk by Allen is a shock to the system, but two? Who saw that coming?

The sharpshooting veteran was all over the court against the Kings. He was driving the lane, feeding the ball to his teammates and nailing some long-range bombs.

You can look past his team-high four turnovers because in a blowout victory, that's never much of an issue.

What you will take a gander at are his 18 points and five assists. 

Not too shabby if you ask me.

Grade: A



Talk about going deep into your bench.

Along with Allen, Spoelstra played every single one of his second-unit players, which came at the result of Miami having the game well in hand in the final two quarters.

The Heat got 34 points from the bench, although a majority of those baskets did come from Allen. 

Chris "Birdman" Andersen scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds. Two of those points came off a nice feed from Norris Cole, who eventually left the game after taking an apparent knee to his side. 

Grade: A-


What's Next?

The defending NBA champions will be off this weekend before finishing their five-game homestand on December 23 against Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks.

On Christmas day, the Heat will travel to Staples Center to do battle with a Los Angeles Lakers squad who will be without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. 


Follow NBA Featured Columnist/Live Blogger Christopher Walder on Twitter at @WalderSports.


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