HEAT Hang On To Beat Thunder

Bam Adebayo
Photo Credit: Zach Beeker
by Joe Beguiristain

Although the Thunder made a run in the fourth quarter, the HEAT made enough plays late and held on for a 115-108 victory over OKC Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Let’s see how Miami got it done.

1. Bam Sets The Tone

So…Bam Adebayo came out ready to rock in this one.

How so?

Well, he hit his first seven shots and led all players with 16 points at the break thanks to some of his usual finishes around the basket. And while there were a couple instances where he went coast-to-coast in transition, this turnaround jumper in the post late in the second quarter was something else:

Of course, Adebayo also freed up his teammates with strong screens and dribble handoffs and fared well in both man and zone defense against the Thunder’s slew of bigs.

Oh yeah, he did this on a switch in the third quarter, too:

That’s Bam for ya.

When it was all said and done, the former Kentucky Wildcat amassed 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 7-of-10 shooting from the line, eight boards, five assists and a block.

2. Nunn Keeps It Up

After going off for 33 points his last time out, Kendrick Nunn led the HEAT in scoring once more.

This time around, though, he did the bulk of his work in the second half, with no bucket as vital as this runner in the fourth as OKC was trying to mount a comeback:

Naturally, Nunn also knocked down a few treys and hit some mid-range jumpers throughout the contest.

And on the flip side of the ball, he competed hard in both man and zone looks.

In addition to his team-high 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep, the rookie also tallied two rebounds, two assists and a steal.

3. Jimmy Does All The Little Things

From start to finish, Jimmy Butler showed great court vision, attacked the basket and wreaked havoc at the top of the zone with either Derrick Jones Jr. or James Johnson.

That said, perhaps his most important sequence of the night came on this back-tap to Nunn for a three in the fourth quarter:

To borrow a phrase from Coach Spo, that’s a “winning play”.

In all, Butler recorded 14 points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field and a perfect 7-of-7 shooting from the line, a game-high 10 boards, a team-high seven assists, a game-high two steals and a block.

Other Takeaways:

-As mentioned above, Jones Jr. did his thing at the top of the zone and also came through with some tough finishes inside.

“Airplane Mode” finished with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, five rebounds and a steal.

-Kelly Olynyk took advantage of some extended playing time and ended up with 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting, seven boards and two assists.

And above all else, nothing encapsulates Olynyk’s craftiness better than this sequence early in the fourth:


-Seven guys scored in double-figures for Miami, including Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragić, to go along with the others mentioned above.

Game Notes:

-Tyler Herro (Left Knee Bruise) was an active scratch.

-Kyle Alexander (G League - Two-Way), KZ Okpala (G League - On Assignment), Gabe Vincent (G League - Two-Way) and Justise Winslow (Lower Back Bone Bruise) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will head to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Sunday at 3PM. Miami will then return home for a five-game homestand, starting with the Kings on MLK Day at 5PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.

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