Mateo’s Hoop Diary: The Heat took out the Raptors in tune-up game

The first half was unsightly for the Raptors as the Heat inflated its lead to 19 points and then coasted the last two quarters for a win in its penultimate game of the regular season.

The Heat was absent Terry Rozier (neck) and Duncan Robinson (back). The Raptors were missing Scottie Barnes (recovering from left hand surgery, Jakob Poetl (finger). 

Early, Nikola Jović disrupted the visiting attack as help in the backline and finished at the rim three times off a cut, putback, and drive from the top. Bam Adebayo successfully attacked the lane twice. And Jimmy Butler poured in five points.

On the other side, the guests were a two-raptor horde. Immanuel Quickley nailed a right-wing 3-pointer with Adebayo in front and made two freebies. And RJ Barrett mauled the hosts in transition, sliced the baseline to score plus dribbled past Butler into the paint for a layup. The latter followed up the second frame with an encore, and Bruce Brown downed a pair of threes.

In response, Adebayo detonated. He jammed a fastbreak lob from Jaime Jaquez Jr., rim rolled for a layup, swished a tray and punished the cup from the dunker spot. And JJJ produced seven points and four dimes.

On top of that, the Heat’s advantage swelled to 19 points as Adebayo set up Jović at the post with Quickley on his back for a basket.

At halftime, the Heat was ahead 66-50 and ahead on the glass by one with nine less turnovers. Additionally, the crew had 32 paint points, two on the break, four via second chances, 12 after turnovers and 19 from the bench.

The Raptors had 22 interior points, four in the open court, six on extra tries, three after turnovers and 14 from the reserves.

By the halfway mark of the third quarter, the Raptors chewed down the Heat’s lead to a dozen, getting to the restricted area on five occasions and making a transition 3-pointer.

To counter, Adebayo rolled after a handoff to Herro and punched in a two-handed dunk, and Heat closed the interval, logging five of 10 attempts.

The fourth quarter started with the hosts up 92-75.

Despite Barrett draining a corner triple, scoring against the zone and getting by JJJ and Haywood Highsmith, the Heat was never in danger of an upset. Aside from him, the only other Raptor to record multiple field goals late was Garrett Temple.

For the hosts, only three starters played in the fourth- Butler, Jović and Martin- but the Raps never got closer than below 16 points with over 10 minutes to go.

Late, Jaquez made a 3-pointer, canned four freebies, dunked on the break, hit a baseline layup and set up four plays. And Kevin Love supplied seven points and four rebounds.

The Heat won 125-103. The team picked up 54 paint points, seven on the break, eight via second chances, 17 after turnovers and 50 from the bench.

Jović scored 22 points on nine of 18 looks, with five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Jaquez recorded 20 on his ledger on 46.7% accuracy, with four rebounds and nine assists. And Adebayo put up 19 points on 10 attempts, with six boards and three dimes.

The Raptors had 48 interior points, 10 in the open court, 12 on extra tries, eight after turnovers and 30 from the reserves.

Barrett tallied 35 marks on 13 of 18 tries and picked up 11 rebounds and three helpings. Quickley had 15 points, making 36.4% of his shots, with four rebounds and five assists. And Brown had 14 points on six attempts.

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra said, “We have a lot to work on…This was a step for sure.”

Jović came next. He was asked about the team’s ball movement and said, “It feels great to get a win where [we] had so many assists. Thirty-seven? That’s what it was all about in the morning practice… That’s how we got to play if we want to score and that’s what we did tonight.”

The Heat will not practice on Saturday.

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Mateo’s Hoop Diary: The Mavericks dismantled the Heat at Kaseya Center

Luka Dončić uncorked the Mavericks’ offense with back-to-back triples and knocked down another tray five minutes later. He guarded himself by picking up three first-quarter fouls and sat with 13 points until nearly midway through frame two. The Heat countered, splashing four of seven deep shots and cutting up the baseline, but Kyrie Irving took over Kaseya Center.

The Heat was absent Duncan Robinson (back) and Terry Rozier (neck). The Mavericks played without Dereck Lively II (knee).

Then it got ugly. The team with “Culture” on its jerseys was pushed around and burned from distance, while its effort levels were low for the first half. The hosts trailed by as much as 25 points and were below 47-69 at halftime. Up to that moment, the Mavericks had made 12 of 17 baskets in the lane.

Jimmy Butler took it easy, attempting only five shots and committing five turnovers against the Mavericks’ defense. Bam Adebayo was the worst big man on the court, misfiring on one 3-point try and seven consecutive close-range looks against Maxi Kleber and Daniel Gafford.

The only bright spots before intermission were Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin, as the former broke into the lane for three baskets and the latter downed two triples.

Yet, the Mavericks blanking makable deep tries, and Kevin Love supplying 10 points on rim attacks and long-distance buckets opened the door for a comeback. At the end of the interval, the Heat was behind 74-88.

Then the squad deployed the zone in the fourth quarter, but the Mavs were not fazed. PJ Washington hit two shots at the heart of the scheme, Irving dribbled left past it to the rim, and Gafford scored from the dunker spot on consecutive plays.

Adebayo and Butler were subbed back in with 6:43 left as the team was down 13. Their impact to close out the game was microscopic. Adebayo missed his only attempt in the fourth quarter, but Butler made his, hoisting over Irving on the baseline.

Herro was the only Heatle to record multiple baskets in the fourth- a pair of threes that cut the Heat’s deficit to nine and eight points with under nine minutes to go. But the Mavs resisted any further comeback attempts.

Dončić dribbled into the paint and hit a fadeaway over Love on the right side; former Heatle Derrick Jones Jr. dashed by Butler and scored on Adebayo at the rim; and Irving’s left baseline drive around Herro for a left-handed layup sealed the deal.

The Heat lost 92-111. The crew picked up 36 paint points, five on the break, 14 via second chances, eight after turnovers and 23 from the bench. The hosts also had seven more rebounds and eight extra turnovers than the Mavs.

Herro produced 21 points on six of 15 attempts, with seven rebounds, six assists and four turnovers. Love had 16 on his scoring ledger on 66.7% accuracy, with 11 rebounds. And Martin put up 14 points on five of 14 looks, with four boards and six dimes.

The Mavericks had 48 interior points, 24 in the open court, seven on extra tries, 19 after turnovers and 21 from the reserves.

Dončić registered 29 points on nine of 23 tries and recovered nine rebounds, nine assists and three turnovers. Irving had 25 on his ledger, making 66.7% of his attempts, with three rebounds, four assists and two steals. And Jones and Washington had a dozen points apiece.

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra said, “[The Dallas Mavericks] jumped us…sometimes this league can just really humble you and that’s what happened tonight.”

Butler did not speak to the media.

The Heat will not practice on Thursday

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Mateo’s Hoop Diary: The Heat got away with the win in double overtime in Atlanta

The Heat got away with a dub in Atlanta against the Hawks but almost lost the game, plus its dignity through regulation and two extra periods. The crew has Tyler Herro, Nikola Jović and Jimmy Butler mainly to thank.

They unlocked the offense early, too. Butler finished a layup and lob in transition, drove into the lane for a reverse scoop and converted four freebies. Jović downed a left-wing tray, pierced the paint to score on a slot cut and euro-stepped past Dejounte Murray in the square for a bucket. And Herro added seven points.

The hosts retaliated with 27 opening points on 56.5% accuracy. Most of the damage was perpetrated by backup big man Bruno Fernando, registering four shots in the restricted area. De’Andre Hunter also dribbled past Butler, pulling up for a 10-foot jumper inside the elbow and maneuvered to the left of Clint Capela’s screen, breaching the heart of the defense for two points.

Through 12 minutes, the Heat led 30-27 but were behind on the glass by three.

Next, the defense contained the Hawks to 34.8% shooting in the second quarter, mainly by shutting down Hunter on rim drives in single coverage plus contesting his deep tries.

On the Heat side, Herro tallied three more baskets in the paint and hoisted a successful jumper at the nail, set up by Bam Adebayo’s dribble handoff. Delon Wright contributed seven points. And the rest of the squad made five of 11 attempts in the period.

At halftime, the Heat was ahead 59-47 but behind on the glass by four. The visitors had 26 paint points, five on the break, none via second chances, eight after turnovers and 13 from the bench.

The Hawks had 26 interior points, seven in the open court, six on extra tries, four after turnovers and 16 from the reserves.

Then the Heat’s offense jammed coming out of intermission. The Hawks stuck closely to the snipers, contesting cleanly and overwhelmed paint entries with swiping hands and an extra man.

Jović and Herro saved the Heat from discombobulation in the third as the only teammates to record multiple baskets.

On the Hawks’ side, Hunter cut back door for a layup, swished two 3-pointers, dribbled past Jović to hit an 11-foot shot and canned a jumper over Wright. And Jalen Johnson distributed six marks.

The frame ended with the match tied at 80 points.

Then Herro opened the fourth quarter with the Heat’s initial two baskets set up by Adebayo screens- a left-side floater and wing triple facing Fernando in drop coverage.

But the squad misfired its last six field goals in the closing four minutes of regulation as the Hawks supplied three out of seven buckets, but none more significant than Murray’s dash past Butler for a layup that Adebayo illegally swatted. That tied the game again, followed by a clumsy attempt by the Heat to claim the edge.

In the first extra period, the Heat disrupted deep shots and slowed down Murray, with Highsmith forcing him into two tough attempts at the nail and in the paint.

But the Heat failed to capitalize, logging only Jović and Highsmith’s three-pointers. Butler nearly gave away the game with a turnover. Murray recovered it, racing down court, yet Butler atoned for his error, not permitting a clean release.

In the second overtime, Herro checked Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanović, forcing misses on their rim attacks. The Hawks made only two of 10 ventures the rest of the way, while Jović, Herro and Highsmith combined for 10 points.

The Heat won 117-111. It got outrebounded by 13 and had 44 paint points, 10 on the break, two via second chances, 13 after turnovers and 26 from the bench.

Herro tallied 33 points on 13 of 25 attempts, with five rebounds, four assists and three turnovers in his first start since hurting his foot on Feb. 23. Butler put 25 on his scorecard on 14 looks, with eight rebounds and nine dimes. And Jović produced 23 points on 66.7% accuracy, with eight rebounds and one assist.

The Hawks had 50 interior points, 14 in the open court, 23 on extra tries, 20 after turnovers and 29 from the reserves.

Murray had 29 points on 12 of 31 tries and picked up 13 rebounds, 13 helpings and four turnovers. Hunter provided 23 on his ledger on 43.5% shooting, with 11 rebounds and three assists. And Fernando had 12 points and four rebounds.

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about Jović’s on-court growth. He said, “He’s improved in so many of the areas. It started with his work ethic… He’s really been committed to the work. It doesn’t happen overnight. I always say, ‘So many people overestimate what you can do in a day, but they underestimate what you can do in a matter of months.’”

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Do the Miami Heat still have one shock left in them?

We have almost made it, the regular season is nearing the end, and it has been an interesting year for the Miami Heat. There have been lots of disappointments and a lot of nice surprises, but we are nearing the time when everything turns around for us Heat fans. As the Heat ramp up for the postseason, let’s take a look at some of the best things we have going on right now.

Terry Rozier has been dominating games as of late. The Heat made the Rozier trade with the thought that he could become another primary scorer and be a bucket-getter for a team that struggles to create their own shot. Rozier has struggled with a shot for the majority of the time with the Miami Heat, but it is started to change around and the past few games Rozier has looked phenomenal. He looks more comfortable and looks like he knows what role he needs to fulfill.  His chemistry with the other stars and even the role players looks like it should go into a postseason. They’ve worked out the kinks and things seem smooth right now.  

A perfect example of this is against the New York Knicks when Rozier went 8/11 from 3 and 10/15 from the from the field. He was flat out unstoppable and maybe the best part is, he was creating all of his own shots even though he was creating all of his own shots. It didn’t feel like he was hijacking the offense. It still felt like other people were able to get theirs, and there was a free flowing motion. It’s just when the Heat needed someone to create that shot, Rozier was there. The Knicks game was a perfect example of what he brings to this Heat team in the playoffs, a dog.

 When they need a guy to go on one and create a shot, now it doesn’t always have to be Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. With Rozier, we got a flat out bucket to back them up. I expect Rozier to play a massive role in the playoffs and he might be the X-factor to see how far the Heat go. If he plays like he has in the past few weeks, all I’m gonna say is watch out because no one and I mean no one wants to see the Heat if Rozier is playing like that.


by Kevin Rodriguez


Nikola Jovic has gone from being a potential spot minutes player in the playoffs to now being a potential starter. At minimum he has played his way into some sort of role, as now it’s impossible to keep him out of the rotation but he has been playing so good as of late that there is a strong argument that he should continue to start. He fits seamlessly with the starters now and he does everything that this team needs from him. He is the ultimate connector. If the NBA tracked hockey assist, I feel like he would be near the top of the whole team. Countless times he passes the ball quickly and effectively to keep the play going. That might not seem like a big deal, but on a team that sometimes struggles with fluidity on offense, it makes the world of a difference. 

His shot has been excellent as of late and he has learned how to play NBA basketball. I am absolutely thrilled with Jovic’s development and I think he should be the starting for in the playoffs.

 I don’t want to ignore his defensive improvement either, as he has gone from a negative defender and absolute liability to now being a solid defender that is consistently making winning plays on the defensive end. It starts with his effort. He is constantly giving maximum effort and constantly looking for little things, he can do that make a big difference. He’s going for every rebound, he’s going for every loose ball, and he’s fighting for everything. He’s making everything difficult for the opponent and even though it doesn’t always result in a defensive rebound, a steal, a block or even a missed shot, it’s the effort over an extended period of time that makes a big difference.

 If you would’ve told me at the start of the year that Jovic would be relied on so much, I would’ve called you crazy but now there’s not enough time for me to discuss all the good things he is doing.  No one has improved as much as Jovic on the Heat over the course of the year. 


Another player who has gone from a fringe rotation player to an absolute lock is Haywood Highsmith. Highsmith has become incredibly important to the future success of this team. We already knew he plays all-world defense, you don’t get the nickname locksmith for no reason, but the way he has been shooting the ball makes him a must-play for Eric Spoelstra. 

When I think of Highsmith my mind keeps going back to PJ Tucker. Tucker played incredible defense but started refusing to take corner threes and it was his demise, and the Heat’s, in the playoffs. Haywood Highsmith has the chance to be PJ Tucker on defense while being a sniper from three, his three-point shooting is the key to everything for him. If he is hitting his open threes, then he is going to be playing a ton of minutes.

 Then on defense, he is going to be locking down the best offensive player on the opposing team, outside of a center. This would also unlock Butler and other defenders to have a trickle-down effect and guard better matchups. This would then let Butler not have to expend as much energy on the defensive end and allow him to focus on scoring. This is how important Highsmith can be for the Heat. By simply taking, and making three-point shots, Highsmith would change the whole dynamic of the team. It is a massive trickle-down effect that can change the outcome of a season.

 Highsmith has blasted out of a canon to be one of the most important players on the Miami Heat. Game after game he is fulfilling his role and some. His game has evolved at the perfect time and he’s looking to make a name for himself this postseason.


Everything is not perfect for the Heat right now, there are still some things that need to be improved, but they are arguably playing their best basketball of the season currently. Numerous players have stepped up, including Rozier, Jovic and Highsmith. The Heat have all the firepower needed to make a Finals run and bring home a championship, now we just have to wait and see what happens. Heat nation get ready, it’s about time to shock the world.

Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Heat couldn’t overcome a poor first half in the late surge, falling to Pacers in Indiana

A shining opportunity presented itself for the Heat- momentarily claiming the sixth seed in Indiana- but the crew arrived unprepared, and its protections were as soft as cotton candy half of the match, permitting easy access into the lane and giving up the top of the key. And then its efforts were insufficient in the end. Barring some metamorphosis or black magic ritual, the Play-In Tournament is inevitable for the Heat.

For the millionth time, TJ McConnell channeled John Stockton, castigating the Heatles in transition, pick and roll plus isolating Tyler Herro for a fadeaway jumper and baseline drive.

Myles Turner outplayed Bam Adebayo.

Duncan Robinson and Terry Rozier did a lot of running.

At halftime, the Heat was down 46-63. The squad had 20 paint points, two on the break, two via second chances, four after turnovers and 17 from the bench.

On the other side, the Pacers supplied 32 interior points, four on the break, nine on extra tries, four after turnovers and 25 from the reserves.

And of course, the Heat didn’t get its act together until a spurt midway through the third quarter, pulling the group within nine points as Butler swished a corner tray in Pascal Siakam’s face, canned three freebies and hunted down Andrew Nembhard in the post, nailing a turnaround jumper.

And there was a late chance.

The visitors entered the fourth quarter down 13 points. Next, Nikola Jović drew a 3-point foul on Siakam, slicing the deficit to seven and cutting it to six a minute later with a banger in the corner off Butler’s drive and kick. On the succeeding play, Butler pedaled to the rim in transition, making a left-handed scoop.

An Indiana turnover followed, giving the Heat the possession back, and the unit called timeout. Then Caleb Martin hit a jumper inside the nail against Siakam in drop coverage. Yet, Haliburton countered, striking the rim on a right-side drive set up by a horns action.

With 2:40 left, Jović missed up close, initiating a fastbreak that Butler fouled Aaron Nesmith on, sending him to the line. Coach Erik Spoelstra challenged that call unsuccessfully.

But Herro gave the unit an adrenaline shot in the veins, getting fouled by Siakam on a right-wing 3-point attempt. The hosts unsuccessfully challenged, but his three free throws put the Heat down two.

The Pacers called its last timeout, but Adebayo fouled Turner after the catch. Turner made both freebies.

In response, Herro cashed a triple in transition off a handoff from Butler against Siakam up top.

Subsequently, Nesmith was intentionally fouled by Herro, and he put the Pacers ahead by three.

The Pacers wouldn’t let the Heat have a chance to tie, so they purposely fouled Herro with 6.6 seconds left. He made the first, intentionally missed the last, but stepped inside the line too quickly before the ball hit the rim.


The Heat finished with 42 paint points, six on the break, four via second chances, six after turnovers and 46 from the bench.

Butler produced 27 points on seven of 16 ventures, with seven rebounds, eight assists and one steal. Adebayo had 20 points on 44.4% accuracy, with 12 boards and three dimes. Martin tallied 20 marks on 10 shots and recovered three rebounds and two assists. And Jović put up 18 points on six of 10 attempts, with two rebounds.

The Pacers had 58 interior points, six in the open court, 11 on extra tries, nine after turnovers and 39 from the reserves.

Turner had 22 points on six of 12 tries, with 13 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. McConnell dispensed 22 points, making 78.6% of his shots, with five assists. And Siakam had 18 points and eight rebounds.

Postgame, Spoelstra was asked about the first-half struggles. He said, “[The Pacers] definitely were the assertive ones… it has to be every single possession, obviously, and that’s what’s disappointing because we have great habits of playing consistently and doing it hard.”

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Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Return of the Herro in the Heat’s win in Houston over the Rockets

The touring Heat got back on track in Houston, controlling the boards and feasting in transition in Tyler Herro’s comeback.

The Rockets were missing Alperen Şengün (ankle-out for rest of regular season) and Amen Thompson (ankle).

Early, the Rockets tallied five baskets in the lane and connected on four of 11 triples. Dillon Brooks made three of those trays; two were over decent contests by Terry Rozier and Nikola Jović. But Fred VanVleet struggled with Haywood Highsmith tagging his drive, misfired facing Duncan Robinson in the corner and bricked another deep jumper as Rozier challenged at the last second after going over the screen.

On the Heat side, Jimmy Butler took charge, tearing through his matchup on his way to the cup and nailing four free throws. Caleb Martin scored in the open court and off a wing cut. And with 3:42 left in the first quarter, Herro stepped on the court for the first time since the Heat’s win in New Orleans on Feb. 23. First, he set up Butler on the break for a dunk; next, he made a transition pull-up jumper at the elbow over Jock Londale.

After 12 minutes, the game was tied at 27, with the Heat shooting 50% from the field as the Rockets converted 40.9%.

Then Bam Adebayo blew up the Rockets’ defenses in the second quarter. He hunted Cam Whitmore and Aaron Holiday to score at close range, soared coast-to-coast for a layup, produced off a pick-and-roll set with Herro and filed four freebies.

Rozier chipped in, adding eight points, intercepting VanVleet’s pass and ripping the ball from Jalen Green’s grasp. And Herro dribbled past Jeff Green and Jabari Smith for a layup and got to the rim in transition with VanVleet on his hip. The rest of the Heatles made five of 10 shots in the quarter.

But the hosts were answering back almost as easily. Smith broke the zone with a shot at the nail and hit two corner triples. Green provided eight more points, and VanVleet put up seven.

At halftime, the Heat was up 64-59. The crew had 36 paint points, 12 on the break, nine via second chances, 13 after turnovers and 20 from the bench.

Butler had 15 points on four of eight looks, with one assist and a steal. Adebayo accumulated 14 on his scoring ledger on 83.3% accuracy, with six rebounds, two assists and a steal. Rozier put up 10 points on five attempts, with two dimes and two steals. And Herro had six points on six tries and picked up a rebound and four dimes.

The Rockers had 18 interior points, four in the open court, seven on added tries, six after turnovers and 11 from the reserves.

Brooks had 14 points on five of eight opportunities, with three rebounds, an assist and a steal. And Smith and Green had 11 marks and two helpings apiece.

Afterward, Butler spun past Reggie Bullock in the lane for two points, buried an open corner three and made two free throws in the third quarter. Additionally, Jović, who played less than seven minutes in the first half, got seven in the third and canned two 3-pointers. Duncan Robinson contributed seven points, too.

Defensively, the Heat getting back in transition and its man-to-man coverage held the hosts to seven of 23 baskets in the third quarter.

The fourth frame started with the Heat up 83-73. In fewer than two minutes, Whitmore’s cutting layup and Green’s two triples cut the advantage to four points. Yet, the Heat’s protections recalibrated and permitted five of 23 baskets the rest of the way.

While the Rockets were still within striking distance, Herro dribbled left past Green from the top to the rim for two points, splashed a fastbreak bomb and sunk two freebies. And Jaime Jaquez Jr.’s 10-point burst helped put away the Rockets.

The Heat won 119-104. The squad picked up 56 paint points, 17 on the break, 15 via second chances, 15 after turnovers and 48 from the bench.

Butler logged 22 points on six of 14 attempts, with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Adebayo had 18 points on 58.3% shooting, with 12 boards, six assists, one steal and a block. And Herro put 17 on his scorecard on seven of 14 tries and picked up five rebounds and six dimes.

The Rockets had 34 interior points, 15 in the open court, 15 on extra tries, 15 after turnovers and 26 from the reserves.

Green dropped 21 points on 33.3% accuracy, with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and three turnovers. Brooks produced 18 on his ledger on six of 18 attempts, with four rebounds and three assists. And Smith had 15 points on 12 ventures and recovered eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.

Herro handled the on-court interview. He said it was a great win on the second night of a back-to-back set. When asked about what was hardest during his absence (20 games because of a foot injury), Herro said, “It wasn’t a huge injury, but it was something that kept lingering on… But I ultimately took a couple of weeks off, and I was able to get back healthy enough to come out here and play. I’m happy to be back and [get a] great win.”

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about his thoughts on bouncing back from Thursday’s loss. He said, “You don’t have to be a mind reader to figure out how we felt getting onto that plane [Thursday] after a disappointing loss… It was a good response tonight. This was not an easy team to play on a back-to-back with [their] speed and athleticism. Also, their desperation- knowing they had to win this game to stay in it. We feel grateful that we were able to get this one tonight.”

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Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Heat failed to execute in crunch time against the 76ers

Haywood Highsmith and Terry Rozier saved the crew from shame in the first half, and as they were up eight points in the last six minutes, the Heatles muddied their shorts.

The Heat was absent Tyler Herro (foot). 

Coach Erik Spoelstra called a timeout as the 76ers seized a 10-0 lead in the opening possessions. Tyrese Maxey, the one the Heat passed on in the 2020 Draft for Precious Achiuwa, burned defenses with a swarm of jumpers and drive-bys. And reigning MVP Joel Embiid wiped out coverages, shooting from long and mid-distance, plus broke into the paint for two layups off the catch.

In a delayed response, Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier, and Nikola Jović clapped back, gashing the 76ers transition defense for a dozen points. In the half court, Butler maneuvered into the paint off a pick-and-roll set with Bam Adebayo for a floater, and Rozier made a step-back triple over Nicolas Batum in the left corner.

Haywood Highsmith checked in for Duncan Robinson eight minutes in. Before the sequence ended, he came in as a help defender from the top, rejecting Kenyon Martin Jr.’s layup and stealing Philadelphia’s inbound pass under its basket, resulting in Jaime Jaquez Jr. scoring at the rim through contact.

Through 12 minutes, the Heat was down 29-39, shooting 42.9% to the 76ers 57.1%.

Next, Highsmith took charge as the only Heat player recording multiple field goals (5) in the period. He nailed two catch-and-shoot triples, slashed into the paint to make a reverse layup, carved up the baseline for a dunk and dropped one putback. And apart from contesting deep shots, he poked the ball loose from Kelly Oubre Jr. on a left-side drive.

Additionally, Caleb Martin claimed the Heat’s first lead on a transition pull-up banger. But the 76ers finished the half on a 20-9 burst. Maxey got the cup easily in the open court and sped past the zone. Embiid contributed six more points. Cameron Payne swished a 3-pointer. And Paul Reed made a layup driving left after catching in the middle against the zone.

Notably, the Heat’s last basket of the half sprung off Rozier intercepting Embiid’s bad pass and nailing 28-foot fastbreak triple as the horn buzzed through Kaseya Center.

At halftime, the Heat was down 55-63 and above on the glass by two. The Heat had 24 paint points, 15 on the break, two via second chances, 11 after turnovers and 26 from the bench.

Highsmith recorded 12 points on five of seven looks, with three rebounds, one assist, two steals and a block. Rozier had 11 on his scorecard on 33.3% shooting, with one steal and two turnovers. And Butler had nine points on six attempts and picked up two boards and three dimes.

The 76ers had 28 interior points, 11 in the open court, four on extra tries, 15 after turnovers and nine from the reserves.

Maxey, channeling The Answer, Allen Iverson, tallied 24 points on 10 of 15 attempts, with five rebounds and seven assists. Embiid notched 21 marks on 61.5% accuracy, with three rebounds, an assist and a block. And Oubre supplied six points on six tries and recovered five boards.

Past the halfway mark of the third, the Heat was still down 10 points. Subsequently, the home squad finished the interval on a 17-6 run- Adebayo cashed a left-side fadeaway over Reed; Butler scored twice at close range; Jović splashed a tray; JJJ canned a seven-footer in the lane; and Rozier raced from coast to coast for a reverse layup and made a transition three.

The fourth quarter started with the Heat up 88-87. Butler dribbled left past Batum for a layup and converted a lob on the other side. Kevin Love added seven of his 11 points early in the frame. But after Butler made two freebies, putting the Heat ahead by eight with 6:28 left, the unit got sloppy.

The hosts settled for jumpers and registered one of its last 11 ventures. As they were falling apart, the 76ers got stronger, rattling off 13 unanswered points to snatch control- Maxey killed the zone with a step-back jumper on the right side over JJJ and Highsmith then connected on another on the opposite baseline facing Rozier; KJ Martin got inside for a deuce; Oubre dashed into the lane for a basket and made a three on consecutive possessions and later downed a one more trifecta.

At that point, the Heat’s confidence was fractured. The group followed up with two turnovers by Butler and Highsmith and a miss by the former, trying to go for the win with a three while down two.

The Heat lost 105-109. The squad accumulated 44 paint points, 24 on the break, 14 via second chances, 20 after turnovers and 36 from the bench.

Rozier scored 22 points on seven of 20 attempts, with two rebounds, two assists, one steal and three turnovers. Butler produced 20 on his ledger, accurate on 41.2% of his tries and picked up four rebounds and five dimes. And Highsmith had 12 points on five of seven looks, with nine rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block.

The 76ers amassed 38 interior points, 17 in the open court, 10 on extra tries, 23 after turnovers and 17 from the reserves.

Maxey generated 37 points, filing 15 of 26 shots and recovering nine rebounds, 11 assists, one steal and a block. Embiid had 29 on his scorecard on 44% accuracy, with four rebounds, three dimes, one steal and a block. And Oubre distributed 18 points on 14 attempts and had eight rebounds, two steals and a block.

At the postgame presser, Adebayo said, “[The 76ers] got us out of routine offense, and also, I feel like we [were] careless with the ball. [We] weren’t really detailed at the end of the day.”

Butler spoke on what the Heat need to do. He said, “Win, and everything will take care of itself. Win and we don’t need to worry about anyone else.”

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Mateo’s Hoop Diary: “We didn’t have enough,” says LeBron James about 2011 Heat

LeBron James and JJ Redick continue to do the public service of teaching schematics in episode 3 of Mind the Game. They went over the intricacies of the deadly Steph Curry and Draymond Green pick & roll, coach Erik Spoelstra’s improvement methods, sets that James has thrived in at different spots in his career and more noteworthy dialogue.
Then, the criteria for super teams came up about 85% through the episode. Redick correctly stated that a big three alone doesn’t fill the requirements. But the surprising revelation is that the 2011 Heatles didn’t make the cut. James said, “We didn’t have enough,” referring to the role players.

Such a misconstruction of history reduces the accomplishment of the Dallas Mavericks.

That first year Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and James teamed up, the squad didn’t break 60 wins as many expected. In fact, they were mediocre through 18 outings. Yet, that group figured it out, finishing the regular season third in overall offense and fifth in defense on a 49-16 tear.

The group included 2011 3-point contest champion James Jones, who also converted 45.9% of his triples during the Playoffs. Who could forget 25 marks in Game 1 against the Celtics, but specifically, his 14-point second-quarter eruption?

Udonis Haslem, who had missed 69 games with a torn Lisfranc ligament, juiced the Heat up with 13 points on five of 10 attempts, with five rebounds, two dimes, one steal and a block in Game 2 in Chicago to help the club tie the series it eventually won in five.

And Mario Chalmers was on that team. He finished nine Playoff games logging 50% of his 3-point tries, and the squad was 6-3 in those matches. To boot, he came out blasting in the closeout Game 5 against Philadelphia with 11 first-quarter points. And his four trifectas off the bench in Game 3 in Dallas helped give the Heat its last lead in the series.

This crew was not as deep as the eventual back-to-back champs, but James, Wade and Bosh’s take-over potency, especially this early in their union, was so incomparable in the NBA that they sawed through East with a 12-3 record en route to the championship round.

LeRevisionist can’t get away with this one. The team had plenty when it won the East. They lost because Dallas’ defensive schemes caused him to play scared- not attacking openings in the lane, settling for jumpers and atypically making wrong reads.

There is no excuse for one of top five most dominating players in history getting outplayed by Jason Terry.

Anyways, their program has the potential for greatness. Maybe there needs to be a credible reporter- someone who was around for both of their careers, in the corner that draws a red card whenever the facts are misconstrued and demands clarification or fact check.

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Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Terry Rozier powered the Heat past the Knicks

The depleted Knicks nearly dug themselves out of a 16-point hole, but the Heat pulled away in crunch time.

Tyler Herro (foot) was out for the Heat. OG Anunoby (elbow) and Julius Randle (shoulder) were absent for the Knicks. 

Early, the Heat’s defense forced three turnovers, locking up the passing lanes and pressuring the ball handler, plus paid close attention to Jalen Brunson. But Miles McBride and Donte DiVincenzo maneuvered through openings and converted deep looks.

On offense, Terry Rozier sprayed 12 points, reaching the rim through pick and roll, swishing a corner tray off an under-the-basket inbound, and making two catch-and-shoot transition threes plus a freebie. No other Heatle dropped multiple field goals in the first, but Butler drew fouls, posting up Josh Hart and dribbling past DiVincenzo for two trips to the line.

The Heat closed the first quarter on a 15-2 run and led 34-22, shooting 52.9% to the Knicks’ 36.8%.

Next, Brunson was contained to zero of three baskets, but Bojan Bogdanović poured in seven points off New York’s bench, hitting a putback jumper, two freebies and a wing triple behind Precious Achiuwa’s flare screen.

Countering, Rozier connected on two more trifectas, and Butler broke inside the paint for three finishes. The rest of the team made 29% of its ventures in the period.

At halftime, the Heat was up 58-43 and ahead on the glass by seven. The crew had 14 paint points, four on the break, seven via second chances, two after turnovers and 14 from the bench.

Rozier scored 20 on six of eight attempts, with three rebounds and a block. Butler filed 13 points on 44.4% shooting, with three rebounds and five assists. And Love tallied six points on four attempts and picked up two boards.

The Knicks had 14 interior points, nine in the open court, two on extra tries, six after turnovers and nine from the reserves.

McBride and DiVincenzo each had a dozen points on four of nine looks. Bogdanovic added nine points on six tries and recovered three rebounds.

But out of the break, the Knicks came out a sharper squad behind McBride and DiVincenzo. The former got to the cup for two on a left-side give-and-go with Isaiah Hartenstein, dribbled into the paint, logging a finger roll in front of Butler, cut up the baseline for a dunk and downed an open three at the top. The latter buried three triples and finished a mean lob, assisted by Brunson on the break.

Despite the Heat’s defense not having answers, the attack mostly did. Rozier and Adebayo combined for six of eight buckets in the frame, totaling 16 of the club’s 25 points. Yet, the Knicks’ backline pressured four extra turnovers

In the fourth, Brunson broke the zone twice with two floaters in the paint. DiVincenzo made another tray and two cut-and-scores on the baseline and through the middle. And with four minutes left, the Knicks tied the match, courtesy of Achiuwa’s putback.

In crunch time, the Heat responded with Haywood Highsmith’s banger over Brunson, three freebies from Rozier after getting fouled by Achiuwa on a deep shot, two baskets from Adebayo, and Butler’s five-foot floater over McBride.

The Heat won 109-99. The hosts picked up 34 paint points, nine on the break, 11 via second chances, 14 after turnovers and 32 from the bench.

Rozier provided 34 points on 10 of 15 attempts, with five rebounds, three assists, a block and three turnovers. Butler had 17 points on 41.7% shooting, with five rebounds, six assists and four turnovers. And Adebayo recorded 15 points on nine attempts, with nine rebounds, one assist and a steal.

The Knicks had 38 interior points, 14 in the open court, seven on extra tries, 21 after turnovers and 18 from the reserves.

DiVincenzo recorded 31 points on 11 of 21 attempts, with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. McBride scored 24 on 56.3% accuracy and picked up two rebounds plus two assists. And Brunson had 20 points, making five of 18 looks, with two rebounds, 10 assists and five turnovers.

Rozier handled the on-court interview. He said, “The Knicks [are] a great basketball team, and this league is all about runs. They went on a run, we stayed poised, we figured out what we needed to do on offense down the stretch, and we did it. We executed.”

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about how the team guarded Brunson. He said, “Great players force you to bring a second defender, and sometimes, a third defender… he’s that good right now.”

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Mateo’s Hoop Diary: The Heat handled the Wizards in Washington

Following a tense first half for the visiting Heat, carried in large part by Terry Rozier, the crew separated from the Wizards the rest of the way with an abundance of trays and strikes in the lane in Duncan Robinson’s comeback. The visitors also prevented any lead change post intermission following 12 prior.

The Heat was missing Tyler Herro (foot) and Caleb Martin (ankle). The Wizards were absent Bilal Coulibaly (wrist), Kyle Kuzma (heel), Tyus Jones (back) and Landry Shamet (calf).

Early, the Wizards contested the Heat’s long-range attack cleanly, forcing eight consecutive deep misses in the half-court and in transition. On offense, Jordan Poole swished two triples. Anthony Gill nailed a pick-and-pop jumper at the top of the key and broke into the paint for two buckets. And Marvin Bagley III rim rolled, dunking twice off a putback and a direct feed through the middle.

On the other side, Rozier lit the Heat’s fuse to start. He hit a left-side jumper facing drop coverage, dusted Poole from the top to the cup for a layup, left Bagley stumbling after a crossover in transition plus the basket and made one catch-and-release banger.

On top of that, Jimmy Butler scored by driving through Patrick Baldwin Jr. on the right side and cutting through the center for a catch and score helped by Nikola Jović. And Haywood Highsmith contributed five points.

Through 12 minutes, the match was tied at 29, with the Heat shooting 47.8% to the Wizards’ 42.3%.

Next, the visitors stuck closely to the snipers, permitting two of seven 3-point makes, but gave up the square on a surplus of drive-byes. Poole did the most damage, dropping nine of the hosts’ 30 marks in the frame.

Yet the Heatles attack erupted like a stack of TNT behind Adebayo splintering the paint four times and Rozier cashing three triples and one step-back jumper at the elbow after isolating Poole.

At halftime, the Heat was ahead 66-59 and up on the boards by three. The squad had 28 paint points, 15 on the break, six via second chances, eight after turnovers and 18 from the bench.

Rozier dispensed 20 points on eight of 13 shots, two rebounds, two dimes and two steals. Adebayo scored 13 on seven attempts and recovered five boards. And Jović filed nine points, six rebounds and two assists.

The Wizards picked up 30 interior points, six in the open court, nine on extra tries, eight after turnovers and 23 from the bench.

Poole registered 15 points on five of 12 attempts, with five assists. Gill scored a dozen on eight tries and claimed four boards. And Bagley had eight points and four rebounds.

Out of the break, the Heat’s defense forced unsuccessful outside jumpers and, midway through the quarter, was up by 16 points. Then, over 69 seconds, the protections loosened up, conceding a baseline cut and dunk to Corey Kispet, a rim roll to Gill and a corner triple to Jared Butler for seven unanswered points.

The Heat’s counter was a three by Highsmith and Delon Wright, plus Butler’s turnaround jumper on the left side over Gill.

The fourth quarter started with the Heat above 95-80. Despite the Wizards having its most effective sequence of the game, pouring in 27 points on 55% accuracy, it was too late. Before Butler subbed out, he cut into the paint for a layup and spun past Jared Butler, recording a basket through contact. Rozier was the only other Heatle late to record multiple field goals. And the rest of the unit made five of 11 shots.

The Heat won 119-107. The squad had 46 paint points, 21 on the break, 10 via second chances, 18 after turnovers and 35 from the bench.

Rozier logged 27 points on 11 of 19 looks, with four rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block. Adebayo had 22 on his scorecard on 50% accuracy, with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals, a block and five turnovers. And Butler had 17 points on five of 11 ventures, with eight rebounds and four assists.

The Wizards picked up 56 interior points, 15 in the open court, 11 on extra tries, 18 after turnovers and 45 from the reserves.

Poole had 22 points, making eight of 20 shots, and added four rebounds, eight assists, one steal and four turnovers. Gill put up 18 points on 58.3% shootings, with four rebounds. And Deni Avdija tallied 15 to his ledger with nine rebounds and six dimes.

Rozier handled the on-court interview. He gave credit to teammates and coaches for his output.

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked if he feels his team is prepared for the upcoming challenges. He said, “Yeah. All I’m thinking about is getting ready for Tuesday… we’ll rest up and get onto Miami and prepare for a big game against New York on Tuesday.”

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