The young talented Minnesota Timberwolves came into Miami on Saturday to face the Miami Heat. Miami was shorthanded without Jimmy Butler and others. Still, the Heat made it competitive throughout the game. Miami even had a 12-point lead at halftime. Unfortunately, things went south in the second half, with Minnesota picking up their defensive intensity. Minnesota kept pressuring the Heat guards on the ball. The Timberwolves ended up closing the game with a win. With the loss, Miami falls to 45-24 for the season. Here are four takeaways from Saturday’s loss to Minnesota.
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Tale of Two Halves
After a slow start in the first period, Miami came out strong in the second period. Miami was able to get stops defensively and get into their offense quickly. The Heat’s three-point shooting was also starting to pick up as well. It was starting to look like one of those nights where Miami would cruise to a victory. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Things got worse after a strong first half. Minnesota’s defense took control early and made Miami uncomfortable on the offensive end. The Heat’s offense was sloppy, and Minnesota was able to get out on the break early. The Timberwolves offense was also being executed well with the team moving the ball around and finding open teammates. In the end, Miami got outscored 58-37 in the second half.
Another Herro Night
It was another strong game for Tyler Herro. Once again, he took off in the second quarter leading the Heat. He was knocking down shots from downtown and attacking the basket on the break. Herro also drew a couple of fouls as well. He played a huge role in energizing Miami after a sluggish start. It seemed as if Herro could get anything he wanted on the offensive end. He did, however, missed a few bunnies late in the game. Still, this is the Herro the team needs going forward and he is getting better as the season progresses. Herro ended the night with 30 points and seven rebounds.
Strus Makes His Case
With Miami sidelining more players, Max Strus once again was back in the rotation. Strus was terrific from downtown again. The Heat forward was 5-11 from beyond the arc. Strus’ teammates kept finding him open in the corner and the wing. We all know that Strus can get hot from downtown at any moment. One thing we should be watching in him scoring off the dribble. On one play, Strus rejected the screen with a spin move and then hit a pull-up jumper. He may not get any major minutes but he could be useful as a spark plug when needed. Strus ended the night with 19 points and seven rebounds.
A few hours before the game, it was announced that Markieff Morris was available to play. The last time we saw Morris in a game was on November 8. Morris suffered a neck injury from Nikola Jokic‘s hard push. With the NBA’s clearance, Morris was back in action. It was a bit of an uneven game for Morris. He had some good moments defensively but questionable moments offensively. He’s not a reliable three-point shooting and the playmaking at the elbow didn’t go well. However, Morris slipping out to the mid-range on the roll is certainly a part of his offensive package. He’ll likely be out of the rotation once Caleb Martin returns though. Morris finished the night with six points and four rebounds in 17 minutes of action.
Up Next: The Detroit Pistons. The game tips off at 7:30 pm eastern time on Tuesday.
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