The big story before tip-off in San Antonio was the fact that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers would all be held out Sunday night against the Spurs due to various injuries.
By the time the game was over, the Heat had come away with an unexpected 88-86 victory, thanks to the last-second heroics of the one Miami All-Star who did play in this game, Chris Bosh.
With the Heat trailing by one and less than 10 seconds remaining, the Heat rebounded a miss from Tim Duncan in the lane, and advanced the ball up the floor for their final offensive possession.
Bosh trailed the play at the top of the three-point arc, and Ray Allen found him there, as Bosh calmly drained the game-winner from three-point distance.
Bosh ranks ninth on the Heat in three-point field goal percentage, yet had no trouble knocking down this one with the game hanging in the balance.
It’s tough to blame San Antonio for the letdown to a certain extent, given the fact that Miami was without three of its five starters. But should the Spurs face the Heat in the NBA Finals, and if the regular season records of the two teams don’t end up finishing that far apart in the overall standings, San Antonio may look back on this game with regret as they’re forced to open the championship round on the road in Miami against the defending champs.
PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?
Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.
Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.
Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question
The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.
“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.
“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”
Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)
Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.
And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.
Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.