You really had to see it to believe it. The Golden State Warriors pulled off an incredible victory over the Miami Heat, notching their fifth straight victory on this road trip. Draymond Green’s layup with less than a second remaining sealed a 97-95 victory for Golden State.
Klay Thompson’s 27 fueled the Warriors, and he was helped out by Jarrett Jack’s 20 off the bench. David Lee had his usual great game with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Here we go, quarter-by-quarter…
In the first quarter, the Warriors looked great out there. They were determined to win and stay with the Heat. It wasn’t within their ability to let the Heat grab the lead and keep expanding on it. The Big Three, of course played well as usual.
Harrison Barnes opened on LeBron James and Klay Thompson opened on Dwyane Wade. This was a good learning experience, but Draymond Green eventually came over to take over on LeBron. They both did well, and limited LeBron to 12 points by halftime. The Heat, in the first quarter, destroyed the Warriors in the pain, but the Warriors managed to stay hot. Klay Thompson started 1/5 on threes, and had 7 by the end of the first. The Warriors lead 29-28 after the first.
The NBA’s respect for the Heat clearly showed when they got a couple of phantom fouls that weren’t really fouls. Nevertheless, the Warriors played with passion and heart, which is what kept them in the game. The Warriors’ unit didn’t play very well, but David Lee kept the Warriors in the game.
Midway through the second quarter, Curry had 5 points and 5 assists. Both teams were turning the ball over a lot, as the Heat had 10 and the Warriors had 10 by the end of the first half. In the second quarter, both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were injured. LeBron turned out to be okay, but Wade went to the lockeroom. Without Wade in, Klay Thompson lit up, and and hit 5/5 threes after starting 1/5. Thompson lead all scores at 21 going into the half. The Warriors ended with a 59-58 lead, and were desperately trying to prepare for a dangerous second half.
The dreaded third? Wasn’t so dreaded. The Warriors got rid of that curse at the beginning of the roadtrip. Mark Jackson really wanted to keep his record on the road perfect.In the beginning of the third quarter, the Warriors played very well defensively. The Heat, who had 34 points in the paint by halftime, were limited to four just because of Festus Ezeli’s presence. Unfortunately, he picked up four fouls and had to leave the game. Nevertheless, the Warriors were able to keep with the Heat, never relinquishing the lead.
The key stat, by this point in the game, was the Heat’s defense on Curry. The lead was at 3, 69-66 with 3 minutes left. At times, there would be three guys on him at one time. Curry had only taken 3 shots by the end of the third quarter. The Heat’s defense was stifling. Jarrett Jack, who has been inconsistent, finally found his rhythm. 14 silent points hurt the Heat, and the Warriors grabbed a 77-74 lead at the end of the third quarter. They outscored the heat 18-16 in the third quarter, which was pretty quiet.
Entering a scary fourth quarter down in South Beach, and boy was it ever entertaining. The teams see-sawed back and forth, with Dwyane Wade’s jumper putting the Heat up by four with just over two minutes remaining. The Warriors battled back on the strength of a Curry jumper and two free-throws by David Lee to even the game at 95-95.
Then, after Shane Battier’s missed three, the Warriors had a chance to go for the win with the ball and 11 seconds remaining. Jarrett Jack held the ball at the top of the arc, then threw a perfect pass to a wide open Green in front of the basket, who laid it in to give the Warriors a 97-95 lead with 0.9 seconds remaining.
LeBron James’ fadeaway attempt at the buzzer missed on the other end, the Warriors pulled off the upset down in Miami. Golden State is now 15-7 and an incredible 9-4 on the road after winning their last five.
The road trip continues in Orlando on Friday.