Miami Heat secure victory behind versatile Butler, hot Nunn

 The Miami Heat were able to secure a win behind a strong effort from Jimmy Butler.

The Miami Heat recorded a huge victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night. With Miami winning by a 106-97 margin, there were many good things to take away from the game. However, one thing stood out to me in particular: Jimmy Butler had 11 assists.

Now, I am not diminishing the efforts of Kendrick Nunn at all. His 28 points paced the Heat’s offensive attack. However, it was Butler’s contributions on Thursday evening that spearheaded the Miami Heat towards a victory. His willingness to share the basketball showed up in the box score and on the court. Five different Miami Heat players scored in double figures.  Butler himself had 21 points. In addition, he had six steals and three blocks.

This game reminded me of his days in Chicago. In Philadelphia, there were a lot of mouths to feed in terms of sharing the basketball. In Chicago, he was more of the superstar that the Bulls leaned on. I think he will serve a similar role here in Miami, but the production from the youngsters has made me believe that he will not do it all by himself.

Miami Heat received all-around effort from Butler

When I think of Jimmy Butler, I think of a player who bullies his way to the basket, and can drive to the hoop with ease. I forget sometimes how good he is defensively. He reminded me Thursday just how impactful he can be on that end. Butler is a stout defender that is not afraid to get up in the face of his man and make life uncomfortable. He plays the game with tremendous passion, and it shows.

The fact that Butler was able to combine his scoring prowess with his defensive skill set on Thursday was great to see. It’s hard to play defense in today’s NBA. It seems like everything is called a foul nowadays. It’s easy to accumulate a ton of points, it’s harder to accumulate steals and blocks. Butler did a nice job of that and as a result, he made a huge impact on the game.

He is going to be fun to watch in a Miami Heat uniform. Thursday night, he proved that. If he can play like this every single night, this team is going to make a very deep playoff run.


Old Teammates Won’t Let Jimmy Butler Move On

Jimmy Butler seems to be living his best life of late.

He got paid this offseason, and traded to the city where he wanted to play.

He is a new father — of a baby girl.

And he with a team and teammates he clearly likes.

But others in the NBA won’t let the man be.

Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns, two of the game’s elite bigs — and each problematic for his own reasons — got in a skirmish Wednesday in the game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

These days, what isn’t settled in person spills over into social media.

So it did.

And Embiid, well, he can’t leave anything alone, except the Eastern Conference Finals. He and Butler were on good terms in Philadelphia last season as teammates — Butler roundly praised Embiid a month ago during Heat training camp.

Butler was never as glowing about Towns, with the fraying of that relationship playing into his desire to leave the Timberwolves — that set up his brief partnership with Embiid in Philadelphia. Embiid apparently knows the history. Quite well.

The “3rd stringers” is a reference to Butler, during his self-imposed sabbatical in Minnesota, supposedly teaming up with 3rd stringers in practice and routing the Wolves’ starters, including Towns, in practice. You’ll remember Woj giving Jimmy something akin to Paul Bunyan status for this.

So, with two of his ex’s squabbling, will Butler leave this alone?

The answer, naturally, is no.

Butler chimed in on Embiid’s Instagram post.

So this won’t be the last of it.

Butler will be asked, probably prior to Thursday’s Miami Heat game in Atlanta. And you can be sure, he’ll answer. It would be fun if he just buried both of them.


The Miami Heat have no room for Dion Waiters

The veteran and the Miami Heat should part ways.

Dion Waiters is back with the Miami Heat, but he still is on the outside looking in. He practiced with the team on Wednesday, but he will not travel with them to face the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.

To me, Dion Waiters is the odd man out right now for the Miami Heat. The team has gotten some great contributions from rookies like Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro. Many did not predict that the youth movement would start out as smoothly as it has for the Heat. The two rookies don’t even look like first-year players. They look like seasoned veterans, and have put a spark into this Miami Heat team.

The Miami Heat have found their dynamic duo

For their efforts, Nunn and Herro have averaged 21 and 16.3 points. One of the key assets of Waiters’s game is his ability to provide scoring. He is a volume shooter who used to be able to provide that spark off the bench. Now, that role is filled. Quite honestly, I don’t see where Waiters fits into this team at the moment. The whole situation is kind of fascinating. With the emergence of the rookies and the fact that Waiters’ tenure with the Heat has taken an unfortunate turn, it’s the perfect juxtaposition.

I will be interested to see what Miami does with him. They can’t really break up the rotation at the moment. Things are firing on all cylinders, and it will be stupid to jeopardize that. I could see him forcing his way out of Miami. Including this year, he has  two years left on his contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021. Making a $13 million per season, the contract doesn’t exactly make him the easiest players to move. If anything, is a hindrance.

Waiters is the odd man out

As it stands right now, I don’t see where he fits on the Miami Heat. He is a good player and has done a lot for them. However, it would be too risky to break up the roster right now. Everybody seems to be jelling and meshing with each other. He would definitely be a bigger asset to another team. He could come back and be a solid rotation player, assuming they don’t change the way they’re doing things right now. However, I don’t see that happening. I think his days as a member of the Miami Heat are numbered, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a new uniform before the trade deadline. It would be best for both parties to move in a new direction.



Erik Spoelstra and the officials, a love story

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had himself quite the weekend.

Miami had back to back games over the weekend against the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves. In both games, Spoelstra received attention for his antics criticizing poor officiating In crucial parts of the game. Saturday night against Milwaukee Heat center, Bam Adebayo was trapped in the corner by George Hill and Brook Lopez. Spoelstra was signaling timeout to the referees but wasn’t awarded one, this led to him running onto the court during the middle of a Giannis Antetokounmpo fast break and receiving a technical foul.  

The following night in Minnesota during the fourth quarter of a closely contested game the officials seemed to have missed a kicked ball violation on Karl Anthony-Towns. This led to an Andrew Wiggins three which ultimately sealed the game for the Timberwolves. Spoelstra was livid and individually pointed at each official during a timeout in which he appears to be yelling at them as well. 

Emotions were extremely high as both games over the weekend came down to key possessions late. Last season Spoelstra also reached a point where he was clearly frustrated with Nba officiating after a loss to the Golden State Warriors In mid-February. This year however It starts early as he has shown his frustration often with crucial calls down the stretch going in favor of the opposition. The Heat split the weekend series and find themselves at 2-1 facing Eastern Conference player of the week, Trae Young, and the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night at the American Airlines Arena. 

Miami Heat have a stud on the rise in Kendrick Nunn

The Miami Heat have certainly benefited from his contributions.

Although the Miami Heat lost by a 112-106 score on Sunday evening, there were many positives to take away from the game. One of them was the continued production from rookie shooting guard Kendrick Nunn.

For the third game in a row, Nunn played well. In 40 minutes of action, he shot nine-of-17 from the field. He managed to go five-of-nine from beyond the arc and made both his free throws. In addition to his shooting success, he also recorded four rebounds and two assists. In total, he scored 25 points on the evening. With both his field-goal percentage and three-point percentage above 50%, it’s safe to say that he was efficient.

It was good to see him play well on Sunday, especially coming off back-to-back games. He had a solid game on Saturday as well, but the efficiency wasn’t there. In particular, he was cold from behind the arc against Milwaukee. He finished two-of-eight in that department. Nevertheless, his overall body of work was impressive. He finished with 18 points on the evening.

It’s good to see Nunn provide this sort of spark for Miami. You can definitely tell the potential is there. As a matter of fact, the potential is not only there, it is a tangible thing. In his last preseason game against Houston, he scored 40 points in 40 minutes of play and shot 55.6% from the field.  In what is a very talented and crowded Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat are going to need as many scoring options as possible. Nunn certainly provides that, and it is an unexpected surprise.

For me, the sample size is still a bit too small to fully judge what he is capable of. However, there is no denying that he has provided a spark for the Miami Heat. I’d expect that to continue as the season goes on. He certainly has the talent and capability to be successful. It will be interesting to see how he does over the next couple of games. He has a skill set that is sustainable, and that will definitely work in his favor moving forward. He is a good basketball player, and success definitely has a chance to be a part of his future.

The Miami Heat ended the Five Reasons curse!

Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat may win another championship together someday.

But they will never accomplish anything quite like this.

Since Five Reasons Sports Network was born in 2018, we had 12 watch parties prior to Saturday evening. One didn’t count for our record — it was FC Barcelona against Real Madrid, and we don’t really have a horse in that fight. But the other 11 were Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins or Miami Hurricanes road games.

And we lost them all.

Every single one.

And some weren’t close. That included a Heat at Milwaukee Bucks game last season, when we gathered at Duffy’s in North Miami Beach.

So we expected the same Saturday at GQ’s Drafthouse a little further north, in Lauderhill in Broward County.

Top team in the East as the opponent.

Road game.

No Jimmy Butler — and a thin bench due to suspensions.

Then, a 21-point deficit.

So did we all just drink too much?

Or did our halftime giveaways — shirts and autographed cards — turn the tide?

Did this really happen?

Did the Heat… win? In overtime, no less?

Yeah, it happened.

It happened even with the Heat shooting free throws at an Andre Drummond clip in the last few minutes.

It happened even after Derrick Jones Jr. got hurt (groin) and Kendrick Nunn (great again) fouled out.

It happened even with me posting premature tweets about them winning.

It happened even with us all dressed horribly.

It happened, because Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow were relentless on defense, and Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk were major contributors on offense.

And now can it happen again?

We have another watch party, Nov. 26 at Duffy’s in North Miami Beach for the game against the Rockets.

Yes, Harden and Westbrook. On the road.

But we’re on a winning streak.

And the Heat are different this season.

We just promise we won’t do this:


Twitter Thread: Nekias Duncan breaks down Heat’s opening win


The Miami Heat Opened up the much anticipated 2019-2020 season Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.  Nekias Duncan (@NekiasNBA) of @miaheatbeat, Bleacher Report and Five Reasons Sports breaks down and provides commentary for some of the Heat’s best plays and sequences in the 120-101 victory.


Follow the thread below:

Follow the Five on the Floor and @5ReasonsSports podcast for South Florida’s the most in-depth Miami Heat coverage all year long.

New father Jimmy Butler likely out for Bucks

Jimmy Butler’s official Miami Heat debut is still on hold.

Butler, who missed the season opener for undisclosed personal reasons — though the team hinted it was the birth of a child — was still in the hospital with the child and mother Friday and Erik Spoelstra said he probably won’t make the Heat’s road trip that starts in Milwaukee on Saturday.

(Butler could join the team in Minnesota to face his former team Sunday.)

Here’s Spoelstra on the happy news:

Also not with the Heat on Friday: Dion Waiters. He won’t make either part of this trip and will rejoin the team Tuesday at home. James Johnson (conditioning) is not traveling either.

So it appears that the Heat will start the same lineup they did in the season opener.

That’s Bam Adebayo, Meyers Leonard, Justise Winslow and rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.

Nunn had 24 in his debut, and he sounded Friday as if he expected it, saying it went about how he visualized.

Here’s the clip:

Make sure to join us at GQ’s Crafthouse in Lauderhill starting at 5pm, for a watch party.

Free food, and t-shirt giveaways.

We’re 0-11.

Jimmy being out doesn’t help that. But at least we’ll be drinking.

Josh Richardson Claps at Heat Fans in Postgame Presser

On Wednesday the Miami Heat opened their season with an impressive home win without Jimmy Butler.

His former team the Philadelphia 76ers did the same, dispatching the Boston Celtics 107-93.

Josh Richardson had 17 points and six rebounds in his debut for Philly, but his performance afterwards garnered more attention.

It seems like no matter the sport, when higher profile athletes leave Miami it doesn’t always leave them.

Now Heat fans catch a lot of, well heat, for punctuality and that one time in the playoffs something happened.

Miami time is a thing. So is South Florida street gridlock.

However make no mistake, Heat nation shows up night after night.

And the kids will be alright.

Philadelphia is an incredible basketball area on all levels, that should be stated.

That being said, it seems like J-Rich is already starting to trust a process that has yielded zero conference finals since his team was all in diapers.

If you follow the NBA and its players on social media, Twitter in particular, you know there is no love lost between these two organizations.

The difference is, one actually has the culture and the banners.

While the other has a process of playoff elimination annually.

Follow @5ReasonsSports and subscribe to the 5 on the Floor podcast for exclusive Miami Heat content all season.

Catch the 5 Reasons crew at their next watch party this Saturday ( yes, we know) when the Heat travel to Milwaukee to face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.



Get Used to Kendrick Nunn

You’ll have to get used to Kendrick Nunn.

Maybe we’ve been hyping the wrong rookie.

Well, not entirely. Tyler Herro is 19. He will have much better nights than he did in Wednesday’s season opening 120-101 win for the Miami Heat against the Memphis Grizzlies, when he was often squeezed off his spots and tried to do much creating to compensate.

But it was his summer league backcourt mate, the one who has appeared polished in every game he’s played for Miami — Las Vegas to preseason to now the regular season — who shined the most.

Kendrick Nunn is 24 already. And the guard — snatched from Golden State on the last day of last season — matched his age with his scoring in his Miami Heat debut, a debut that came as a surprise starter. Not a substitute starter. That was Herro, in for Jimmy Butler, who missed the game with a personal issue (nothing to worry about). Nunn was supposed to start all along.

Think about that.

Nunn, who wasn’t drafted, who wasn’t valued enough by a thin Warriors team to be kept safe from poachers, who was an afterthought heading into the offseason, was given the starting job between Butler and Justise Winslow for the season opener at home. Ahead of Herro. Ahead of Dion Waiters, before Waiters’ complaining and IG stalking got him suspended.

Eric Reid, who has called 31 seasons of Heat basketball, tried to tell you on the Five on the Floor we posted just prior to the opener:

As Reid noted, this promotion wasn’t just about that 40-point game, mostly against Houston’s starters, in the Heat’s preseason finale. It was about the steady approach Nunn has shown for months now. His hesitation dribble is elite. He does not rush. He switches comfortably between both guard spots. He competes on defense. And he’s not afraid to pull up and launch when he sees some space.

The Heat have a long history of unearthing point guards. Anthony Carter, now on the staff, and Mike James had long NBA careers after no team really wanted either. But Nunn is a combo of the two. He shoots much better than Carter. And he’s more versatile and polished than James.

Also, the attitude.

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