Last Saturday night the Miami Heat were the proud owners of the best record in the Association at 8-1, coming off their second straight win to start off their five game road trip. Friday night found the Heat humbly heading back to Miami after losing their third game in a row ending the road swing at 2-3 as they lost to the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center 117-104.
Unlike their previous two losses when the club fell in overtime; this game was not even close. The Nuggets shot a scorching 55.1% (43-78) from the floor led by Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson scoring 24 points and center Nene who racked up a double-double with 17 points for the night. LeBron James led six Miami players in double-figures with a game high 35 points, however the team never really seemed in sync when they returned from the break at the half.
Denver pulled away from their opponent with about 5:00 remaining in the opening period. Nene wold connect on a mid-range jumper with 1:05 left to play and the Nuggets led 30-21 at the end of the quarter. Miami made their run during the second; taking the lead briefly at 40-39 when James hit a three-foot bunny with 4:48 in the period. However Denver quickly took back the upper hand and would hold a slim 55-53 advantage when the two teams went to their locker rooms.
The visitors made a couple of attempts to get back in the driver’s seat in the third, however every time they got close the Nuggets would widen the gap. Al Harrington buried a 23 foot trey with 36 seconds on the clock and at the conclusion of the quarter Denver was on top 86-81. That would be as close as the Heat would be for the rest of the night as the Nuggets started off the fourth on a 9-0 run and Miami never recovered.
Lawson scored 24 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals while Nene had 17 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and a block. Harrington came off the bench with 15 points, 2 rebounds, an assist and a steal while Rudy Fernandez also came off the pine with 15 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal. Danilo Gallinari put up 14 points while center Timofey Mozgov added 12 points in the contest.
James had 35 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a block while Chris Bosh put up 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists and 1 steal. Rookie guard Norris Cole came off the bench and scored 13 points, a rebound and a steal while Udonis Haslem came off the bench and notched a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 1 assist. Dwyane Wade added 12 points while Mario Chalmers added 10 in the loss. Denver improves to 8-4 and will host the Utah Jazz on Sunday while Miami also has an 8-4 mark and will play host to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.