Heat turn up the offense to rout Kings

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Two nights after an emotional win over the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat were less than focused early on against the lowly Sacramento Kings.
The Heat gave up 36 points in the first quarter, which ranks as their second-worst defensive period of the season.
Miami also allowed the Kings to shoot 78 percent for the first quarter and 68 percent for the first half.
The Heat's defensive effort improved in the second half, however, and the offense was consistent throughout, allowing Miami to defeat the Kings 122-103 on Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Forward Chris Bosh, who led the Heat with 25 points and added eight rebounds, said he and his teammates were concerned with their first half.
"We didn't do a good of defending in the first half," said Bosh, who made 11 of 16 shots and has scored more than 20 points in three of his past four games. "We were mad at ourselves.
"But we knew that if we put in some defensive effort in the second half, we were going to have a game like we had."
Heat forward LeBron James had 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists. It was seven points below James' scoring average, but the way his teammates were shooting, he wasn't needed as much as usual.
Heat guards Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers all shot well. Wade had 20 points, his fourth straight game with at least that many points. Allen scored 18 points -- the only time this season he had more was when he got 19 on Oct. 30 against the 76ers. Chalmers tied his season high with 16 points.
Add it all up, and it was a season high in points for the Heat -- not that everyone was happy.
"From a coach's standpoint, the game left a lot to be desired defensively," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We weren't completely engaged with a sense of urgency. But in the second half, it picked up. And I don't have any complaints about how we played offensively."
Forward DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
However, Kings Coach Michael Malone was not pleased with Cousins -- who was responsible for Bosh for most of the night -- or any other Sacramento player.
"We got blown out," said Malone, whose team lost despite shooting 58 percent from the field. "I'm not really pleased with how anybody played. Offensively, (Cousins) was OK. But his man scored just as much as he did and just as efficiently."
Malone was not pleased with his team's 20 turnovers, which the Heat converted into 32 points. He also was unhappy with the Heat scoring 70 points in the paint and shooting 61 percent from the floor.
"We didn't have anybody who gave a good defensive effort," Malone said. "I question how many guys we have on this team who take pride in their defense.
"A lot of guys are worried about their numbers and their offense, and they are not committed on the defensive end of the floor. That is apparent every night you watch us play."
The Heat (20-6), who have won six of their past seven games including 4-0 on this homestand, play Atlanta on Monday before hitting the road.
In its series against the Kings, Miami has won 10 in a row overall and 12 consecutive at home. The Heat have not lost to the Kings since 2008 and have not lost a home game to Sacramento since Nov. 10, 2001.
Meanwhile, the Kings (7-18) are in 14th place out of 15 teams in the Western Conference. They have lost five out of their past six games, including all three in a road trip that ends Saturday in Orlando.
Besides Cousins, the other Kings player to shine offensively against the Heat was rookie guard Ben McLemore, who had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
"Going against their great wings like Wade and Allen, that was a great learning experience for me," McLemore said. "The game was faster playing against those guys."
NOTES: Heat G Ray Allen dunked twice in the first half -- his first two of the season. ... The Kings' hopes for a franchise turnaround are pinned on three young and talented players: C DeMarcus Cousins, 23, SF Rudy Gay, 27, and PG Isaiah Thomas, 24. But the Kings don't have a standout at power forward, rank third from the bottom in the league in points allowed and are still waiting for a shooting guard to emerge -- either rookie Ben McLemore or third-year pro Jimmer Fredette. McLemore, the seventh pick in the draft, starts and averages 8.9 points on 35.5 percent shooting from the field. Fredette, the 10th pick in the 2011 draft, is a reserve averaging 4.7 points and shooting 39.6 percent from the floor. ... The score-tying 3-pointer made by Heat F Chris Bosh with 90 seconds left in Wednesday's win over Indiana broke a streak in which he had missed 15 straight shots from beyond the arc. ... Heat F Michael Beasley (hamstring) has been out since Dec. 5. ... The Kings and Heat have a rematch next Friday in Sacramento.

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