HEAT Show Toughness In Narrow Loss To Lakers

Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: Brian Babineau
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

Despite a valiant effort down the stretch, the HEAT fell just short to the Lakers 113-110 Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Let’s get into some takeaways from the action.

1. Butler Does All He Can

From the start, Jimmy Butler was locked in on both ends of the floor, as he turned some of his usual steals into easy buckets for both himself and his teammates.

For a perfect example of that, look no further than this swipe on LeBron James and lob to Kendrick Nunn early in the third quarter:

Speaking of the third, Butler scored 10 points in the period, including eight straight for Miami at one point, thanks to some tough takes to the rack.

When it was all said and done, the 30-year-old vet tallied a team-high 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting, a game-high four steals, three rebounds and three assists.

2. Jones Jr. Answers The Challenge

Regardless of who was on the other side, Derrick Jones Jr. emptied the tank and laid it all on the line against L.A.

In particular, the 22-year-old did his thing defensively in both man and zone versus LeBron James and Anthony Davis among others.

And while he fared well throughout the contest, these two sequences in the second quarter were rather notable:

Then again, Jones Jr. also attacked the basket, took advantage at the line and knocked down a couple treys.

In all, “Airplane Mode” finished with 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe, four rebounds, four assists and two steals.

3. Nunn Impressive Late

While Nunn got the crowd rocking with this huge jam over JaVale McGee early on…

…he also came through when it mattered most with a game-high eight points in the fourth.

This three to cut the deficit to one with nine seconds left was undoubtedly his most important shot of the night:

Nunn ended up with 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting, a team-high seven assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Other Takeaways:

-Kelly Olynyk was sharp throughout, as he moved the ball and finished plays inside in the second quarter before scoring seven points in the fourth.

KO concluded the evening with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting, six rebounds and three assists.

Game Note:

-Goran Dragić (Right Groin Strain), KZ Okpala (G League - On Assignment), Dion Waiters (Team Suspension) and Justise Winslow (Lower Back Strain) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will embark on a three-game road trip, starting Saturday at 8:30PM in Dallas against the Mavs. After facing the Grizzlies and Sixers, Miami will return home to host the Knicks on Friday, Dec. 20 at 8PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.

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