Miami is in the middle of a late season malaise at the moment, having lost consecutive home games for the first time since 2011 and five of six overall.
This one was more troubling than the rest, considering Denver’s place in the standings and the fact that the Heat blew an early 14-point lead, and then had the game back within reach after cutting a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to just four with about six minutes to play.
But Denver’s energy was too much for the Heat to overcome, and the Nuggets were led by a 24-point, 10-rebound performance from Kenneth Faried, who simply looked like he was playing faster than everyone else.
As recently as last season, Faried was viewed as an untouchable asset by the Denver front office, but a slow start to the year had him being dangled at the trade deadline in a potential deal for Iman Shumpert. While a change of scenery may have worked well for both players, a performance like this one shows that Faried should continued to be valued much higher than that.
The combination of activity and athleticism that Faried is capable of is rare in this league, and when he gets loose the way he did in Miami, it’s enough to put even the defending champs in a very difficult spot.