The Miami Heat needed a win desperately, and they got one, looking like their early season form in a 126-118 victory against the Dallas Mavericks.
Some of the highlights…
Dallas was 13 games over .500 coming into this game and Miami needed to defend the three at a high level if they wanted to win this game. Miami was once again without Tyler Herro and Meyers Leonard who could be out for a couple more weeks at least. The Heat were hoping to find one of the bench role pieces to accept a new role, and take a more prominent role in the offense to make up for those guys not being out there.
The guys in the Heat locker room know that Jimmy Butler should be a little selfish at times and take over on the offensive side of the ball from the start of the game. Well, that’s what he did in the first quarter, leading the way with eleven first quarter points. Kendrick Nunn also began the game with confidence shooting the ball, going 2 for 2 from beyond the arc in the first quarter. The troubles in the first came by Dallas’ Tim Hardaway Jr who started the game with 8 straight points. The Heat were tied with the Mavericks 31-31 at the end of the first.
The second quarter was lead by Dragić and Olynyk off of the bench, who combined for 15 second quarter points. Derrick Jones Jr replaced Olynyk in the starting lineup tonight and it seemed to pay off. Olynyk played well with the bench group and got his three point shooting going early. Duncan Robinson also helped the Heat in the second quarter with 9 points while hitting two threes and an And 1, which gave Miami great momentum after a tough layup on Porzingis. The Heat lead at the half 63-55.
The third quarter was a bit of a turnaround for the Heat after Dallas started to make a big run. This run was made behind Dallas’ Seth Curry and Luka Doncic who combined for 25 points in the third alone. Miami kept looking for somebody to give them momentum, but with every player having a negative plus/minus in the third quarter, it was tough. If the Heat could adjust their perimeter defensive struggles in the third then Miami could win, but the Heat trailed 93-88.
Duncan Robinson led the way in the fourth quarter as well, scoring 9 points and hitting two threes. He finished the game with a very efficient 24 points with six threes. Miami, needing to make a fourth quarter run, decided the best way to do it would be spreading the ball around. Every player scored in the fourth quarter except Jones Jr, who was making himself a problem on the defensive side of the ball instead. Miami hit some big shots down the stretch of this game and won it 126-118.
This game was a much needed win due to the fact that this Heat locker room needs to bring the fun back to these games like Bam Adebayo said yesterday in practice. The Heat play with a different fire at home when they play off of the intensity of the crowd. The home crowd seems to affect their defensive intensities more than their offense at times, which is always a great thing. Butler finished the game with 26 points on 8-14 shooting from the field, which getting him back to 100% is all Miami needs. Now Miami needs to prepare for another game tomorrow night against Brooklyn for a tough back to back. A win against the Nets will give the Heat the momentum they’ve needed after a very tough stretch.