HEAT Dominate Early, Defeat Hornets 108-94

Dion Waiters
Photo Credit: Brock Williams-Smith
by Joe Beguiristain

Even though the HEAT were down a number of key contributors, they still opened up a big lead early on and won their second game in as many nights with their 108-94 victory over the Hornets Wednesday at Spectrum Center.

Let’s get into some takeaways from the action.

1. Waiters Balls Out

So…Dion Waiters essentially couldn’t be stopped in the first half.

Let’s go down the list:

Assertive drives and finishes at the rim? Check.

Catch-and-shoot treys? Check.

Nifty passes to his teammates? Check.

As such, Waiters led all players with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting before the break.

But above all else, this reverse layup with contact was perhaps his best bucket of the contest:

Altogether, Waiters played both on and off the ball depending on the personnel on the floor and competed hard on the defensive end against Marvin Williams.

The 27-year-old vet finished with four assists, one steal and a team-high plus-19 rating to go along with his aforementioned game-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep.

2. Nunn Answers The Challenge

Usually known for his scoring, Kendrick Nunn fared very well as Miami’s primary ball handler and set up his teammates with some nice passes.

For proof of that, just check out this great read and lob to Bam Adebayo late in the second quarter:

Speaking of Adebayo, the big fella had this fantastic denial on Cody Zeller shortly thereafter:

Adebayo tallied eight points on 4-of-8 shooting, six boards, two assists, a team-high two blocks and a steal on the night.

Nunn, who also finished plays inside and did his thing defensively against Devonte' Graham and Terry Rozier, ended up with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting, a game-high seven assists and a game-high three steals.

3. Robinson Catches Fire In The 3Q

After a slow start, Duncan Robinson put the Hornets on notice in the third quarter and scored 12 points in the period.

Naturally, they all came off threes.

In all, the former Michigan Wolverine recorded 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, three rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Other Takeaways:

-Meyers Leonard did a little bit of everything, as he stretched the floor, freed up his teammates with good screens and showed the ability to half roll and play make.

Leonard ended the evening with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, seven boards and two assists.

-Tyler Herro didn’t score as much as he did on Tuesday, but he still found ways to impact the game with his court vision.

When it was all said and done, the 19-year-old had eight points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal.

-University of Miami alumnus Davon Reed took advantage of some extended playing time and knocked down shots from the perimeter. In total, Reed amassed 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three, a game-high nine boards and a block.

Game Note:

-Jimmy Butler (Illness), Goran Dragić (Load Management, Right Knee), James Johnson (Conditioning), Kelly Olynyk (Right Knee Bruise) and Justise Winslow (Rest) did not play.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will head home and prepare for their next preseason game against the Hawks on Monday at 7:30 PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.

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