LeBron sized up the Rockets' defense like a lion in the Serengeti, and attacked all night. Whether it was Chase Budinger, Chuck Hayes or Patrick Patterson, James exploited his advantage to the fullest. He didn't make more than a handful of questionable decisions all night, executed sharp kickouts when he encountered double-teams, and was a beast on the glass.
Wade gave the Heat a real scare when, going after an offensive rebound, he tripped over Juwan Howard and went crashing to the hardwood. Mike Miller started in his place to begin the third quarter, but Wade returned with a vengeance. He was reckless in the first half, and a force down the stretch. He was also one of the only Heaters to ratchet up the defense.
Against a smallish Rockets front line, Bosh set up shop near the basket and didn't relent. He collected a season-high eight offensive rebounds, converted putbacks at will and generally owned the paint. But defensively? Oy. This was clearly not Bosh's finest hour. Not only was he victimized by Luis Scola, but he offered no help from the back line against penetration.
The Heat struggled at virtually every facet on the defensive end. The Rockets beat them inside early, prompting the Heat to collapse into the paint. This, in turn, left Houston's snipers open on the perimeter. In the "controlling penetration" event, the Heat got burned by both Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin, who found plenty of open space and combined for 20 free throw attempts.
The Rockets move the ball beautifully, get guys the rock where they want it, draw contact and elude help defenders. Kyle Lowry has emerged an all-purpose quarterback. Unfortunately, there's not a swingman on the roster who can capably guard opposing wings. The Rockets sent hard double-teams at James and Wade early -- but that just left them vulnerable elsewhere.