It's truly a shame the new-look Miami Heat are without Chris Bosh the remainder of the season. With Goran Dragic in the mix, Miami's pace-and-space offense under Erik Spoelstra is far more electric than with Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers dominating the ball. Dragic scored 23 points on 14 shots and dished out 10 assists as well. The Heat's offense was legitimately fun to watch, even as Henry Walker — formerly Bill from Kansas State — and James Ennis played 21 minutes apiece. But now, some observations about the team you truly care about:
-The Sixers started their second night of a back-to-back with Luc Mbah a Moute marking Dwayne Wade. It remains undetermined if this fact is more descriptive of LRMAM's defensive versatility or how old the-man-formerly-known-as-Flash has become. The defense worked in the opening frame, as the Sixers swiped 8 steals, with Robert Covington accounting for five, and truly slowing Miami's ball movement.
-Tim Frazier and JaVale McGee started the game just as locked in on the bench as their teammates on the defensive end. McGee and Frazier were highly entertaining celebrators on the pine. Frazier is truly tremendous and holding up three-goggles and whatnot. McGee has the goofiest smile. It's amazing.
-Nerlens Noel continued his recent hot streak, posting an impressive line of 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 assists while playing the entire night against the bigger and stronger Chris Anderson and Hassan Whiteside. Nerlens was extremely aggressive attacking the glass of both sides of the court. He also drained 8-10 from the foul line and looked calm and collected by every definition of the word. He's shot 70.8 percent (17-24) from the stripe over his last five games. Certainly encouraging.
-All of a sudden, the Sixers have morphed into a three-point bombing team. When the season began, Hollis Thompson was really the only player on Brett Brown's active roster that was at least a league-average shooter. Now, the Sixers have made at least 11 three-pointers in six of their last nine games after making 11 threes in only 7 of their previous 47 games. They shot 13-31 (41.9 percent) from downtown this evening. Hollis Thompson has been on fire of late. He drained 6-9 three-point attempts tonight.
-It's amazing how drastic a difference the Sixers' current point guard situation is compared to the beginning of the season as well. Brown's ball handlers at the start of the season (Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams) both stood 6'6. With Wroten done for the year and MCW in Milwaukee, Ish Smith, Isaiah Canaan and Tim Frazier are all 6'0 on a good day. It's fun to root for little guys sprinting into the paint amongst 7-footers. It's entertaining to root for David vs. Goliath in terms of physical size, not just talent.
-The tiny point guard situation has its limitations, however. While Canaan's three-point shooting is a lovely change of pace, they've all struggled defensively against bigger point guards and have had their share of troubles finishing against those Goliaths. The height disadvantage has also negatively affected the team's switch-everything defensive philosophy.
-One last note on the point guards: It seems as though Tim Frazier's time with the Sixers is nearing its end. He still has about a week left in his 10-day contract and it could be just one game, but he only played 12 minutes compared to Canaan's 30 and Smith's 24.
-Next up: The gang of scrappy youngins host Milwaukee on Wednesday. The odds of MCW making his Bucks debut are low due to that nagging toe injury. The odds of an MCW tribute video: even lower.