The Miami Heat returned home after a six-game road trip. They faced off against a shorthanded Brooklyn Nets team led by Kyrie Irving. The Nets certainly didn’t play like a shorthanded team in the first half. They picked the pace up and were able to keep the game close. The Nets were able to consistently put pressure on the Heat’s defense and attack the paint. Then, Miami went up by 20 points in the third period. Brooklyn responded and even cut Miami’s lead down to one in the fourth quarter. But in the end, the Heat pulled away with the victory. With the win, Miami moves to 37-20 for the season. Here are my takeaways from Saturday’s win over Brooklyn.
Another Strong Third Quarter
If you’re a Heat fan, you know all about the dreaded third quarters, or “turd quarters”. It’s usually the quarter where Miami comes out sluggish and the opposing team takes advantage. However, the third quarters have been very nice for the Heat lately. In Miami’s last few wins, they have built huge leads in the third period. On Saturday, the trend continued. Miami was able to build a 20-point lead before ending the third quarter with a 15-point lead. They locked down defensively and were able to get anything they wanted on the offensive end. The Heat outscored the Nets 27-18 in the period.
This was a quiet night for Jimmy Butler offensively. This wasn’t the typical Butler game where he put his imprints on the game. He wasn’t getting to the free-throw line as much and he didn’t take as many shots. He only had 11 attempts in the game. When he did attempt to score, his shots were falling short. Butler had a huge drive late in the fourth quarter that put Miami up by three points. It was Butler’s first time scoring in the fourth period. Then, he split a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left to put Miami up 113-111. Overall, it was an off night for Butler as he ended the night with 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
After missing the last two games for Miami, Tyler Herro was back in action on Saturday. Herro showed his importance early on with his scoring. He was able to keep the Heat afloat with Brooklyn giving Miami fits. Herro looked fresh in his return to the court. He was able to get by Brooklyn’s defenders with an array of moves. Surprisingly, he did not end up closing the game. And this was a bit odd. With Butler struggling, Herro’s offensive moves could’ve been used down the stretch. Especially with the way Miami’s offense was struggling. He ended the night with 15 points in 23 minutes of action.
That’s the heading. P.J. Tucker has been huge for the Heat all season long. It’s why Miami needs to find another forward they can use as insurance in case Tucker goes down. Let’s start with the offensive end. Whenever he had a smaller defender on him, Tucker took advantage and scored over them with a hook shot. He usually hits on his three-pointers but he was off tonight. Most importantly, his effort on that side of the floor was needed. On one play, he dived for the loose ball and tapped it out to Duncan Robinson for the corner three. Defensively, he stayed with Irving all night long. Of course, Irving did go off in the fourth period. But Tucker keeping the ball out of Irving’s hands, in the end, led to a clutch steal that ended up sealing the game.
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Next up: The Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. The game tips off at 7:30 pm eastern time.
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