HEAT Dominate Nuggets in First Game Back
Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood
Thanks to a stellar second half, the HEAT didn’t disappoint in their long-awaited official return to the hardwood and defeated the Nuggets 125-105 Saturday afternoon at HP Field House in Orlando.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
1. Bam Does It All
Although Bam Adebayo only had one scrimmage to get his legs under him, you wouldn’t have been able to tell from his performance against the Nuggets.
From the opening tip, Adebayo had it all going on, as he dove to the rim with force, finished plays inside, threw down jams and knocked down a couple jumpers for good measure.
Of course, he also set up his guys with dribble handoffs and fantastic bounce passes like this one to Duncan Robinson early in the second quarter:
That said, perhaps his best sequence of the day came shortly after that when he soared in for a smooth pick-and-roll finish and hustled back for a key deflection on the other end to save two or potentially three points.
Speaking of deflections and defense, Adebayo also made things as tough as possible on Nikola Jokić throughout the contest.
When it was all said and done, the former Kentucky Wildcat amassed a game-high 22 points (tied with Jimmy Butler) on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 8-of-10 from the line, a game-high nine rebounds, six assists and a plus-19 rating.
2. KO Goes Crazy in the 4th
So…Kelly Olynyk just couldn’t be stopped in the fourth quarter.
Seriously, he scored all 20 of his points in the final period (his most ever in any quarter) and put the game away for good.
Not only did he do his usual damage from deep, but he also came through with this crafty jam off a fake handoff to Jae Crowder:
In addition to his 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting overall, including 4-of-6 from downtown, KO also tallied five boards, three assists, one steal and one block.
3. Jimmy Stays Tough
To absolutely nobody’s surprise, Butler attacked the basket time and time again, absorbed a ton of contact and facilitated very well for his teammates.
And while he was everywhere defensively and even guarded Jokić on a handful of possessions…
…nothing quite touches Butler’s buzzer-beating layup at the end of the third quarter.
Butler finished with a game-high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 10-of-11 from the charity stripe (led all players), a game-high seven assists, four boards and a game-high three steals.
-Early on, Robinson really had to work to get his shots, but he still found a way to make an impact with timely screens, treys and buckets inside.
For a perfect example of his development, just take a look at this play towards the end of the first half when he hit Torrey Craig with a great pump fake in order to get a cleaner look from deep:
Talk about poise and patience.
Robinson ended up with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-7 from distance, two boards, one assist and a game-high plus-28 rating.
His spacing matters, folks.
-In his second start in a HEAT uniform, Crowder showed his defensive versatility by guarding a number of guys and also helped Miami pull away in the third quarter with nine points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc.
Crowder concluded with those nine points on 3-of-4 shooting overall, seven boards, one assist, one steal and a plus-18 rating.
-Kendrick Nunn looked comfortable from the start and scored from all three levels as usual.
However, this wise drive against Jokić early in the first quarter stood out among everything else:
In all, Nunn had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, two rebounds and two assists.
-Kyle Alexander, KZ Okpala, Chris Silva and Gabe Vincent were inactive.
-The HEAT will face the Raptors on Monday at 1:30PM. Depending on your location, you can catch the game on either FOX Sports Sun or NBA TV.