I underestimated how much more fun the game would be without Ben Wallace. Tyrus played 38 minutes, starting at PF and going against Shawn Marion the whole game.
How did it go? Well, overall it was a pretty good night (I arrived late and missed the first 5-6 minutes, from the comments it sounds like he was a bit overanxious from the tip). He had some spectacular blocks, not just the usual weak side help but also a couple special ones against Marion: once catching him on a breakaway and another simply beating him to the peak when Marion thought he had an easy dunk. Tyrus also had a key steal off of him while he was inbounding the ball in the fourth. On offense it was a mixed bag: he was missing some close shots, and got blocked 3 times, which has been an alarming trend all season and showing that he needs to get more crafty when attacking the rim. The good was 6 FTAs and I thought could've gotten a couple more calls. Also, that he was posting up often instead of rushing into jumpshots. He had one turnaround fadeaway which airballed, but beyond that there weren't too many bad decisions in the shot selection. He's bigger than Marion and knew that Miami was generally soft inside so it was wise to attack as much as possible.
He also had 12 boards, as did Thabo, who is continually showing what a great complement he can be to Hinrich and Gordon: a guard who can rebound and will attack strong on the break. He still needs work on his point-guard duties (I guess Fratello thought so too), but the rest is a good foundation. To re-emphasize the rebounding: the Heat in total had 4 offensive rebounds, and I'd have to think that'd be a higher figure if a certain cement-shoed headband-wearer was logging 35 minutes in the game.
But of course, Boylan usually looks competent only out of necessity. Hinrich and Duhon played nearly equal minutes, and you'd think Hinrich now (10-18, 24 points) has earned his spot, but from what we've seen of Boylan Hinrich's performance will only encourage the idea that he's now a great spark off the bench. There was also not a lot of Noah considering Wallace was out and Aaron Gray sat the whole second half after dislocating his finger. And a dangerous idea of going to 3-guards (at least Thabo going forward gives an actual sensible option when wanting to use 3-guards, but Gordon instead of Duh) in the fourth quarter that wound up not hurting much, but the memory of seeing Duhon come in for Thomas was a scary one.
But for once I can't complain about burying Tyrus Thomas. He certainly was given a long rope (and at his natural position!), and that was great to see.
Although I'm still very cautious to think what will happen in the second half, provided (and man I'm hoping) Deng and Gordon are healthy and back. I guess we should now expect 'earn your spot' silliness for the first few games, but this stretch of games has provided plenty of evidence that Sefolosha, Thomas, and Noah should be in the rotation. I'm hoping it won't be forgotten. (and a trimming-the-old trade won't hurt)