The Heat started off strong with three back to back buckets. Tyler Herro got his first “official” NBA bucket almost immediately. The rookies looked very comfortable as the Heat pushed the pace. This is the fastest the Heat have looked in ages. It’s worth noting how good the ball sharing was early on too. The Heat’s offense stalled a little bit towards the 6:00 minute mark allowing the Grizzlies to claw back and steal the lead. The Grizzlies took advantage of Miami’s turnovers, converting on multiple buckets and going on a 12-2 run.
The Heat reserves would push back, but sloppy plays and poor decision making would see them down eight headed into the second quarter.
Derrick Jones Jr. started the second quarter off with a bang as he posterized Jonas Valanciunas.
The Heat would come back and take the lead on a 15-6 run thanks to Justise Winslow. Winslow really showed off his improved finishing ability and passing skills tonight. He acted as Miami’s conductor really setting the pace and getting everybody involved. Bam Adebayo was also a force, dunking on nearly every shot he took and absolutely manhandling Jaren Jackson Jr.
Despite the good, turnovers (Miami had more than 11 at the half) allowed Memphis to go on an 8-0 run and once again steal the lead. One problem last season was that the Heat would fall into scoring droughts, this was once again on display tonight, but it’s something that Jimmy Butler would help eliminate. Despite the uneven play towards the end of the half Miami kept it close. They’d go into the second half down only six.
Kendrick Nunn got the Heat on the board to start the third, with Herro and Bam following up with their own points to cut down the six point deficit. Unfortunately Miami remained mediocre on the defensive end, allowing the Grizzlies to abuse them in transition.
One very cool thing, was how relentlessly Bam attacked the rim. Yes, there were times where he was rejected, but most times he either got a bucket or was fouled. This helped Miami get into the bonus with 6 minutes left in the third quarter. Bam is going to be a big problem for opponents, especially if he continues to have calls go his way.
Miami picked things up towards the end of the quarter with Goran Dragic breaking out of his slump. But a quick 11-4 scoring run by the Grizzlies would put a damper on things. The Heat really struggled from beyond the arc and it showed. Still the Heat hung around. They’d head into the fourth quarter down just one.
Grayson Allen put Memphis up three to start the fourth, but Justise would tie things up with a three. With Derrick Jones Jr. getting his fifth foul, Chris Silva would enter the game and make his presence immediately felt with amazing hustle. He was a force, hustling for rebounds, securing a block and he even found himself on the scoring end of a great alley-oop.
The Heat would steal back the lead, and break open the game going up by 17 on a 21-1 run. Where so many games fell apart in the fourth quarter last season, it was nice to see things finally go Miami’s way. Miami’s depth was on full display tonight with Nunn, and Silva showing up tonight at a crucial time.
It was ugly at times and there’s definitely stuff to work on, but Miami’s young talent and improved depth made this a great win for the Heat.