LeBron James continued his assault on the rim on Tuesday and pounded the paint with nearly every bucket in the first half. But after halftime, his decision-making wasn't as sharp, he tried to force passes, missed rotations on defense and shot long 2-pointers like his life depended on it. His vanishing act after the third quarter proved fatal.
Wade returned after sitting out his previous three games and came out with a vengeance. To reassure everyone that his foot was feeling just fine, he delivered a signature Wade combo for his first bucket: split the pick-and-roll and then Euro-step for a lay-in. He took off from there and scored relentlessly. Wade forced some shots down the stretch, but at least he showed up.
Bosh looked like he was suffering from jet lag out of the gate. He was in a fog for the first three quarters and went 17 minutes before collecting his first rebound. David Lee was running circles around him all night, forcing Erik Spoelstra to switch LeBron on him in crunchtime. Bosh was actually benched during a critical stretch in the fourth, but redeemed himself some in overtime.
The Heat resorted to hero-ball down the stretch in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Warriors to slowly creep back in. When Spoelstra trusts his offense to make spontaneous decisions and play unscripted ball, this is the risk that he takes. LeBron was tentative and Wade was reckless at times as last season's execution woes suddenly reared their ugly head.
At first, the Warriors couldn't keep up with the Heat as they habitually coughed up the ball. Then a furious fourth-quarter comeback washed all that away. Led by newly acquired Nate Robinson and former Heater Dorell Wright, the Warriors refused to die. The Heat gave this one away.
-- Grades by Tom Haberstroh