After losing 3 of the previous 4, Miami needed something to go their way. They responded with two straight wins over playoff teams. With wins over Dallas and Brooklyn, Miami made us sweat as they normally do, but they defended home court as they have done all season.
Miami Makes us Sweat
If you watch from tip-off to triple zero’s, you will understand this pain. The pain of having a lead going into halftime, and then soon after being down or that big lead being nothing. It is frustrating as a fan, but we all must get over it. Miami sure does. They do it every game, bad team or good team. If the Heat are winning big late in the game, they will always seem to make sure the other team is close. They blew a healthy 3rd quarter lead against the Mavericks before a 13-0 run to start the 4th busted the game open and Miami didn’t look back. Then, against the Nets after being up by 7 with less than 2 minutes to go, they let Brooklyn get 2 possessions to tie to take the lead before Spencer Dinwiddie lost Brooklyn the game. Either way, Miami loves to makes us sweat and keeping leads is something that needs to be worked on.
Miami Handles Luke and Company
Luka Dončić turned 21 on Friday in Miami, nevertheless. In terms of Luka standards, Dončić had one of his “down” games that I have seen from him. He still managed to put together 23 points, 4 rebounds and 10 assists however. There was just no Luka Magic that I have heard about. What magic there was in Seth Curry though. He put up a season-high 37 points on 13/15 shooting, 8/9 from beyond the arc. He looked like unanimous MVP Steph on Friday. Miami caught this win 126-118 behind 24 points from Duncan Robinson, 26/5/3 from Jimmy Butler and a near-triple double from Kelly Olynyk (13/7/9).
Brooklyn Scares Miami at the End
When Miami came to Brooklyn in early January, I attended the game being I am from New York. I watched Miami blow a big-time halftime and 4th quarter lead and lose an ugly one on the road. Last night, I sat on my couch and almost had deja vu. Miami entered the 4th quarter with a healthy lead and added to that lead throughout the quarter. That was until Brooklyn came storming back in the last 2 minutes, cutting the lead to as little as 1. They had a chance to take the lead or tie it up late, but thankfully failed to do so. Miami escaped with yet another scary, but good home win.
Defending Home Court
On Wednesday, we saw Miami have a brutal home loss to the Timberwolves who were without Karl-Anthony Towns. Miami had previously only lost to the Clippers, Lakers and Celtics at home before Wednesday. This called for an immediate response this weekend in the back to back. They handled Luka and his Mavs and the Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant-less Nets. Either way both teams are playoff teams and Miami needed these two wins, no matter the opponent. They got the balanced scoring outlook they have all season from Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragić pacing scorers all weekend. This was a needed two game winning streak.
Miami’s Key Role Players
All season, Miami has had key role players. These two games were no different. On Friday, Kelly Olynyk posted 13 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists and on Saturday night Goran Dragić posted 19 points and 10 rebounds. All year, the bench has been one of Miami’s strong suits. And, even with the losses of Tyler Herro and Meyers Leonard it sill remains that. For the Heat to be successful down the stretch they need to not only get healthy but get the crucial bench scoring they have gotten all season.
Miami quickly welcomes Milwaukee into town on Monday before hosting Orlando on Friday to close out their 5-game home-stand. The Bucks, who own the best record in the league at 51-8 have played the Heat once early in the season and lost. That was on the road and without Jimmy Butler for Miami. Now, this Bucks team is in the highest gear and steamrolling opponents. Miami could be next, but it is a home game and Miami has previously slowed down Giannis in the past. The Heat will look to garner some wins this week against some tough opponents as they will also get their first look at Zion on Friday.
Miami has had an up and down last two moths, but they look to get back on the right track and hunt for a top 2-3 seed. They will need to get healthy and be smart on the court. Miami can easily do this, but will they is the question.
Be on the lookout for more content from me, and read my last Miami Heat article here.
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