The Miami Heat tried to fix their issues from what caused back to back losses to the Celtics and Spurs. In what is their 5th home game in 6 regular season games, the Heat were facing a much needed win.
Without Hassan Whiteside, and Wayne Ellington only playing four minutes because of a lingering issue, Okaro White was inserted into the 9-man rotation for the Heat.
Their opponent? The new-look Minnesota Timberwolves. The additions of Jimmy Buterl, Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford to go along with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns have made the Wolves a dangerous team.
So what happened?
The Heat started off the first quarter hot, grabbing a quick ten point lead and holding a gap for the quarter. Great ball movement and terrific defense led the way. But the second quarter woes continued and the Heat gave up 37 points to only hold a 2 point halftime lead thanks to a Goran Dragic three to end the half.
Miami had such better energy than the previous two games. Maybe that had something to do with their little team meeting they had after the weekend’s loss. In the second half, the Heat played the Wolves close for most of it, but it seemed the Wolves pulled away late. Turnovers and poor three-point shooting plagued the Heat. The Heat had 20 turnovers in regulation (spoiler). That was a season high.
Miami made a great run at the end led by Dion Waiters and his game tying layup with 3 seconds left to send the game to overtime. The Heat were able to get consecutive stops at the end of the game to do this.
But once overtime hit, it was back to back turnovers and failed defensive stops gave the Wolves a six point lead and that really hurt the Heat. Miami added 4 turnovers in overtime and could only muster 1 field goal in the first 4 minutes. Then the clawed back to within 2, they just needed to get a stop and a score in the final seconds. They couldn’t. Had a chance to tie it from 45 feet, but they missed.
They fell to the Wolves, 125-122 in overtime.
For Minnesota, it was Jeff Teague. He had 23 points, 6 steals and 11 assists and was so poised down the stretch and in overtime. His calmness, shot making and penetration ultimately hurt the Heat a lot.
Wiggins attacked the rim over and over but he wasn’t efficient from the field. Towns had 20 and 12 for them as well.
For Miami, Dion Waiters had 33 points, and a much much better second half showing that his previous games. Kelly Olynyk had his best game with the Heat with 23 points. And Miami also got 13 points and 13 rebounds from rookie Bam Adebayo in his best showing.
Goran Dragic also added 18 for the Heat. But Miami shot 7-27 from three point land and had 24 turnovers. It’s disturbing because other things are working. They shot 53% from the field, but careless turnovers just limit their opportunity.
A combined 11 turnovers from the starting back court is not good enough. The Heat need be at 14 turnovers or less to be a good team. Tonight, they didn’t even get close to that.
I will admit, they played better in every aspect. The energy, the effort, the intensity was there. I can live with missed three-pointers. It sucks but you know sometimes that’s what happens. But it can’t be coupled with that many turnovers.
The Heat are now 2-4. They have one more home game on Wednesday against the Bulls before leaving for 6 consecutive road games, 5 of which are out West. The Heat really need Hassan Whiteside back to help.