Is the game finally over? This certainly was a game that seemed like it wasn’t going to end. Both the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets went back and forth making big play after big play. Miami closed the game with one of Erik Spoelstra‘s infamous inbounds play. Three Heat players were lined up all the way down the court. The ball was inbounded to Duncan Robinson.
Once Montrezl Harrell came over to trap Robinson, Kyle Lowry slipped back door for the layup to close the game. It wasn’t a pretty game for Miami, who struggled with their shots for the majority of the night. However, the Heat were still able to close the game with a victory. With the win, Miami moves to 38-21 for the season. Here are four takeaways from Thursday’s game.
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Miami’s Offense Turns Stagnant
In the first quarter, Miami’s offense was very crisp. There was a lot of ball movement and cutting from the weak side. 14 of Miami’s 15 made field goals in the period were assisted. The only unassisted made field goal came from Bam Adebayo who sunk hit a mid-range jumper at the end of the quarter. From there, things went south. Miami only scored 10 points in the second quarter. The free-flowing offense we saw in the first period was non-existent in the second period. It also didn’t help that Jimmy Butler was very passive in the period. Miami ended up trailing by seven at halftime.
Rough Night for Butler
When the Heat’s offense gets stagnant, they usually turn to Butler to keep them afloat. However, Butler was struggling himself. This was one of Butler’s worst games of the season. He didn’t score his first point until late in the second quarter. He was very passive early, even turning down an opportunity to score at the basket. Butler played like someone who was already on the flight for All-Star weekend. The whistles and the mismatches weren’t there for him. Then he got going in the second overtime. He hit two big shots late in the period after struggling for most of the night. Butler ended the night with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists.
Lowry to the Rescue
Where would the Heat be without Lowry on Thursday? Lowry was one of few Heat players who had it going. The shots were falling for the Heat point guard on Thursday. Especially from downtown. This was the best Lowry has looked since his return to the team. While his playmaking skills have been huge all season, this is the most aggressive Lowry has been scoring-wise. He was most definitely huge for Miami in the two overtime periods, where he scored 12 points in both periods. With Miami’s stars struggling, Lowry took it upon himself to take over the game. Hopefully, this is a game he can build off of after the All-Star break. Lowry finished the night with 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Now, we head to the All-Star break. Miami won’t play another game until next Friday. Coach Spoelstra and Butler will both head to Cleveland for the All-Star game. The other players will have a week off from basketball. The break certainly comes at a time when Miami needs it. It allows the injured players more time to heal up before Miami’s next game. P.J. Tucker will have more time to rest after playing so many huge minutes. Most importantly, it allows Miami time to reset and get ready for a huge second half of the season.
Next up: The New York Knicks next Friday. The game tips off at 7:30 pm eastern time.
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