The Miami Heat were firing on all cylinders during a brilliant first half against the Sacramento Kings in their final game of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament but it ultimately wasn't enough in a 73-68 loss Friday.
Led by second round pick Josh Richardson with 18 points on 7-10 shooting through two quarters, the Heat raced out to a huge lead in the second quarter to lead 51-26 at the half.
Richardson was hitting shots from everywhere on the floor, showing clear progress throughout the Summer League with Shabazz Napier taking the day off along with Justise Winslow, and the team as a whole was controlling the game on both ends of the floor.
A struggling James Ennis was determined to get his game back on track early in the game, but had mixed results. He tried to jump start his game right from the start but got immediately called for an offensive foul trying to create space for a shot. He then earned a trip to the free throw line on his next touch with an aggressive move and soon afterwards was rewarded with an easy dunk in transition courtesy of Tyler Kalinoski, but then gets a 3-point attempt blocked by Cauley-Stein.
Several turnovers, both forced and unforced, by the Kings helped the Heat grab an early lead in the first quarter that they increased to a double-digit lead with three minutes left in the first quarter. Miami's offense was the best they had shown in Las Vegas, scoring on penetration both inside and outside as well as in transition.
The Heat were up by 21 points early into the second quarter outplaying the Kings on both ends of the floor and had twice as many points as their opponent for much of the quarter.
A third quarter, highlighted by a 27-0 run by the Kings while the Heat racked up several turnovers, erased the large lead they had built up with the Heat as a team managing just four points. Lottery pick Willie Cauley-Stein had a lot to do with that by protecting the rim and scoring in bunches inside the paint. The Kings took the lead with two minutes left in the quarter before Richardson finally answered with a 3-pointer.
The final quarter was much more competitive but Miami could not separate themselves from Sacramento and they continued to be hampered by silly fouls and needless turnovers that cut any semblance of momentum. Miami scratched and clawed their way back to tie the game but Richardson failed to score on a desperation heave as the buzzer sounded and the team didn't score in overtime to close out a disappointing set of games in Las Vegas after winning all of their games in Orlando.
Beyond the disappointing finish to the tournament, the Heat can take solace in the continued development of Richardson, who finished with 23 points, four steals and one assist in 30 minutes. Ennis recorded 13 points and nine rebounds, but shot 4-16 to get to that total, including 0-8 from beyond the arc, and had seven turnovers. Greg Whittington put together another complete performance with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, as well as three blocked shots and four assists.