Quick Recap: Bam, Heat pull away from Wizards in Washington

The Miami Heat were coming off of a tough loss on Friday night to the Pelicans, but took care of business on Sunday against the Wizards, 100-89.

The Heat started off the game in the first quarter the way they do every night it feels, with a Duncan Robinson triple. He had a great first quarter scoring 8 points on 2/2 shooting from three. Kendrick Nunn also contributed 8 points on 3/10 shooting, which seems to be his usual stat-line. Even though this might not seem good, it is for this team who needs a guy who isn’t afraid to shoot the ball. The Heat ended the quarter with a 29-23 lead over the Wizards.

Bam Adebayo was the big scorer for the Heat in the second quarter with 10 points on 4/4 shooting. This leads to better spacing out on the three point line once the defense packs the paint to guard Bam. Solomon Hill also got some quality minutes in this game, scoring 5 points in the second quarter. He hit a nice corner three and added some defensive problems when players would attack the rim. Bradley Beal kept the Wizards in this game in the first half scoring 20 points. This led to only a 3 point lead at the half, 57-54.

The third quarter began and it felt like Miami looked just tragic on the offensive end. The Heat put up a 15 point third quarter and could not get anything going. Miami took another big hit in the third once Jimmy Butler went to the locker room with a left toe injury, and did not return. Spoelstra talked about the injury after the game and basically said it was precautionary since he had sprained his ankle in the previous game. The game was tied at the end of the third, 72-72.

The fourth quarter was a battle to the end, but it ended in a way that makes every Heat fan feel good, Bam Adebayo taking over. Not only did Bam play as the primary playmaker in the fourth, but also as the main scorer, putting up 11 fourth quarter points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Not bad for a center. Duncan Robinson also helped the Heat clinch this win with 3 fourth quarter threes and 7 on the game. Heat pulled away late and got the win 100-89.

This Heat team relies on their star every night when things aren’t going their way. But on this particular night, one of their stars was in the locker room. This allowed them to rely on their other star in Bam Adebayo and he delivered. Just as Duncan Robinson said postgame, “We turned to our All Star.” Bam’s best moment of the night though may have come postgame, when he traded jerseys with Beal and wore it when leaving. Great recruiting mechanism. Seems kind of Wade-esque as pointed out in Ethan Skolnick’s latest piece on this being Bam’s time. Tonight was a great example of that being true.

Miami Heat Defeat Wizards Behind Butler Triple Double

The Miami HEAT came into Friday night’s matchup with the Washington Wizards off of a 2-1 road trip highlighted by an OT win against the Toronto Raptors.  After another road back to back loss against one of the league’s top teams, a home tilt against the sub .500 Wizards felt like a welcome respite.

Before the game Wizards coach Scott Brooks had high praise for Bam Adebayo and the Heat coaching staff saying, “(Bam) is a bonafide star big in this league.” As a thank you for the kind words, Adebayo scored a quick 10 pts in the first quarter, including a couple of butter smooth jumpers that other teams have been daring him to take.

Adebayo got some help in the 2nd quarter as Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro came to life. Despite their efforts, the Heat trailed going into the half for only the second time this season due to an uncharacteristically poor defensive effort.  The Heat struggled to contain Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans in particular, with Bertans going 4 for 7 from beyond the arc in the 2nd quarter. Kendrick Nunn continued his recent struggles with only 3 points in the first half and a couple of sloppy sequences.

The 2nd half defense was far better than the first as the Wizards – one of the most potent offenses in the league – only managed to score 38 points.  Offensively, the trio of Butler, Adebayo and Herro continued their scoring barrage but the Heat struggled to increase or even maintain a lead going into the 4th.

So with a tight game and the clock winding down, the Heat turned to their closer.  Butler was brought to Miami for a myriad of reasons, but foremost amongst them was to give Coach Erik Spoelstra the kind of closer the team hasn’t seen since Dwyane Wade left for the Chicago Bulls.

With just over a minute left and the Heat leading 108-103, Butler had seen enough. He calmly stepped into a 25 ft 3 point shot that iced the game and gave the Heat a win. In typical Butler fashion, he stomped his way to the Heat bench after the Wizards called timeout and shared some “colorful” words with his teammates.  The kind of aggressive action that may have rubbed some of his past franchises the wrong way, is embraced in Miami, if not encouraged.

Miami went on to win by a score of 112-103 as Butler finished with a triple double (28-11-11) to remain undefeated at home. Adebayo chipped in a double double (24 pts and 14 rebs), while Herro added 22 pts of his own.

But the night belonged to Butler who shared some words with this former coach Tom Thibodeau on his way off the floor.  Thibs was all smiles as he watched his former superstar close out an opponent in familiar fashion. Seemingly happy for Jimmy, as he has finally found an NBA home.