Postscripts, reaction from Heat's win in Milwaukee; Wade's clutch numbers; UM recruiting news; Dolphins notes
A six-pack of notes on a Friday night:
### So in five days, the Heat has gone from its season nadir (losing seven of eight) to the satisfaction of a three-game win streak to close a five-game road trip.
Friday’s 107-103 win in Milwaukee featured some of the best offensive pacing we’ve seen all season from Miami, another immaculate night from Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire’s most impactful work of the season, and solid contributions from Chris Bosh (20 points), Luol Deng (16 points, 7 boards, and a big three with 2:23 left) and Goran Dragic (who returned from his calf injury, set the tempo early, scored 10 of his 12 in the first half and chipped in eight assists).
Wade filled the box score with 24 points (7 for 13 shooting), 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals. His scored the Heat’s final six points and 10 of their final 13, with his jumper putting Miami ahead for good, 103-101, with 44 seconds left.
How good has Wade been in the clutch? Using the NBA’s definition (final five minutes of games with a margin of five points or fewer), Wade entered tonight with 77 clutch points (13th best in the league). More impressively, he entering shooting 49.1 percent in the clutch (28 for 57).
Of the 16 players who have attempted at least 50 clutch shots (again, using the NBA’s aforementioned definition), only Dirk Nowitzki (49.2 percent) and Deron Williams (50 percent) have shot as well as Wade in the clutch.
By comparison, LeBron James is shooting 46.8 percent in the clutch, James Harden 36.3.
When Wade plays, the Heat is 14-9 in games featuring “clutch minutes” and the Heat has outscored opponents by 50 points during those clutch minutes when Wade is on the floor.
And one more: As AP's Tim Reynolds noted, this is the first time since December 2010 that Wade has scored in double figures in three consecutive fourth quarters.
Regarding his go-ahead jumper with 44 seconds left, Wade said: "I came off as soon as I got a little seam. [Milwaukee] is very long. I shot it on one leg, fading back. I thought it was the best shot I was going to get."
Wade called this a "great win for us, a place we haven't had much success. I'm very proud of our team for figuring it out [after losing the lead briefly]."
Stoudemire, starting his third game in Hassan Whiteside’s absence, was outstanding, with 12 points, 8 rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes. Josh McRoberts played his first game since Dec. 9, closing with two points and two assists in 16 minutes.
Erik Spoelstra called Stoudemire "incredible," and it's impressive to see what he's done after being taken out of mothballs --- not only the dunks, rebounds and blocks tonight, but also how he set screens.
Miami closed at 50 percent from the field. Before scoring 102 in Brooklyn and 107 tonight, the Heat had scored 74, 79, 87, 81 and 89 in its previous five.
So what changed?
“We’re running our offense a little better, knowing what we’re looking for,” Bosh said.
Spoelstra said "the biggest area we've shown improvement is grit and toughness.... We look a lot different with [Dragic and McRoberts]. Goran is special, unique. He can really ignite your offense. He's a one-man fastbreak. He's grown so much in his ability to run the offense."
Dragic said he "felt great. Second half, I was not so aggressive because they played really well on pick-and-rolls. We did an amazing job sharing the ball. When we play like that, it's really tough to stop us."
Wade said "it was great to have [Dragic] back out there. We don't win this game without Goran's and J-Mac's contributions."
Of Wade and Bosh, Spoelstra said "on the court, they're being who they are" and off the court, "they're letting everyone know how important the details are."
The Heat (26-21) plays host to Atlanta on Sunday, then goes back on the road for Houston, Dallas and Charlotte.
### Among the visitors expected on UM’s campus on Saturday, the final weekend before National Signing Day: Orlando-based offensive lineman Tre Johnson (a soft Illinois commit now taking a hard look at UM); four-star Niceville (Fla.) receiver Elijah Stove (UM a long shot; he’s considered a solid Auburn commit), safety Romeo Finley and defensive end Tyreic Martin.
Finley, a four-star prospect out of Niceville, also is considering Clemson and Georgia Tech and told Rivals that he already has a pretty good idea where he’s going. That doesn’t sound encouraging for UM, because Finley raved about his visits to the two other ACC schools.
Martin, a three-star prospect out of Valley, Ala., was a Missouri commitment until defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski left the Tigers (or more precisely, wasn't retained by the new coach) and joined join Mark Richt’s staff here. Indiana, South Carolina and Jacksonville State are also under consideration.
### New Jersey-based four-star receiver Kelvin Harmon, one of a half dozen undecided receivers UM is pursuing, narrowed his choices to UM and North Carolina State and will announce Monday. (He will base the pick on whoever wins the Hurricanes-Wolfpack basketball game Saturday. No, just kidding.)
### It was notable that during his introductory press conference Thursday, new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph praised two players he coached with the Bengals: cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones and safety Reggie Nelson. Both are impending free agents, and expect the Dolphins to consider both.
### With the Chargers announcing they will play 2016 in San Diego, here’s where the Dolphins will play next season: Los Angeles (to meet the Rams), Seattle, San Diego, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Buffalo, New England and East Rutherford, N.J. (Jets).
Miami’s home schedule: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee, New England, Buffalo, Jets.
### New Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen won’t get to call the plays, but he believes it’s a good idea that Adam Gase is keeping that responsibility for himself.
"I think it's how [Gase] got the head coaching job,” Christensen said. “I think a lot of those guys rise to the top because they have a knack for it. [Arizona Cardinals coach] Bruce Arians, who I've worked for a couple of times, just has a knack for calling games. I think some of the head coaches make a mistake not doing it.
“The reason that they kind of go up the ladder if you will, is because they have a knack for doing it and then all of a sudden they become an administrator, or a guy from the sideline. So I'm for it. Some guys just have a knack for it and I think Coach Gase is that, the Andy Reid's. So I'm kind of for it."