Looking for their first win on a back-to-back, the Miami Heat came out noticeably seething from a narrow defeat on Friday night at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers. After being handed their first home loss of the season the Heat looked to be out to make a statement in Dallas beginning the game on a 13-2 run - all five Heat starters would score in the quarter.
Luka Doncic entered the game on an absolute tear but was torn up early. Just 1:40 into the game Doncic grabbed his ankle, after which he would exit to the locker room. He would not return for the remainder of the contest.
Meyers Leonard lead the first wave with 10 points in the opening period. The team made 5 of their first 6 three-pointers, with sharp-shooter Duncan Robinson knocking down two of them. Hitting on all cylinders Miami darted out to a sizable early lead. Transversely, it couldn’t have been a worse start for the Mavericks. Dallas started off 2 of 10 from the field as Miami’s lead ballooned. But it was Kristaps Porzingis, not Doncic, who kept Dallas in the game with 8 points.
In the 2nd quarter, back-to-back triples by Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk pushed the lead to 19 after two minutes of play. The Heat bench mob was at it again. Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynk both scored double-digits in the half. With Olynk knocking down all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. Miami was 12-for-19 from three-point range on 63% shooting before the break. They were also a perfect 13-for-13 from the charity stripe. The ball was moving fluidly as the team had 19 assists. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo accounted for over 50% of Miami’s offense in the first half. Adebayo ended the first 24 minutes with 8 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds.
Dallas started the third quarter on an 11-2 run led by Tim Hardaway Jr. After a three-pointer by Hardaway Jr. that cut the advantage to 14, Erik Spoelstra called a timeout to compose his team. However, following the stoppage Dallas continued to cut into Miami’s lead. Out of the timeout the Heat missed five consecutive shots as their lead shrank to nine. Dallas attacked the offensive and defensive glass in the 3rd. Miami cooled off considerably out of the break, while Dallas started to find their footing. The Heat shot 25% from the field and struggled to unlock any sort of offensive continuity.
Dallas entered the final quarter of play in striking distance, trailing by just 10 points after some uncharacteristically lackadaisical execution from Miami in the 3rd quarter. A Maxi Kleber three-pointer cut the once massive 24-point lead down to five, forcing another Spoelstra time-out. After starting the game 2-for-10 from deep, Dallas would make nine in the 2nd half. With Miami now clinging to a 97-94 lead, Adebayo ended a nearly 4-and-a-half minute field goal drought when he made a 5-foot jump shot plus the foul.
Miami’s late game execution would be tested once again, this time in a hostile environment. The Dallas crowd shrieked and the noise became piercing has a Tim Hardaway Jr. dunk sliced the lead to just 2 points with 5 minutes to play. Kristaps Porzingis’ three-pointer with 3:59 left gave Dallas a 4-point lead, capping a 13-2 run. The Mavs took command for the first time in the game.
Jimmy Butler had a few timely shots down the stretch to keep his squad in the game. After all the drama that had unfolded in 47 minutes of play everything was tied with :30 remaining after an Adebayo layup and a pair of free throws by Butler. Jimmy Butler then missed a three-pointer as time ticked off the clock in regulation. Dallas outscored Miami 31-17 in the 4th quarter, 61-32 in the 2nd half. Without Luka Doncic, the Mavericks battled back from 24 down to push Miami’s backs against the wall.
After Herro cut the Dallas lead to one with a running pull-up jumper, Adebayo’s dunk off an offensive rebound put Miami up one - their first lead since 1:08 left in the 4th quarter. Adebayo then blocked a Porzingis jump shot attempt to stifle the Mavs late push.
Bam is leaving it all out there tonight. pic.twitter.com/ThrO1cCj58— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 15, 2019
#MIAvsDAL: Bam is carrying the team on his back!— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 15, 2019
HEAT have taken a 1-point lead over the Mavs with 1:15 on the clock in OT.
Adebayo has turned in his 2nd career triple-double, and 2nd this week. (18pts, 11rebs & 10asts)
The team was running on fumes Saturday night during its fifth back-to-back game of the season. Miami wavered but did not buckle thanks to Adebayo coming up with clutch play after clutch play in the 4th quarter and overtime. Another notch in the win column despite being down Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic who remain out nursing injuries.
Before our very eyes we are witnessing the emergence of a star in Adebayo. He finished with 18 points, 10 assists and 12 rebounds, his second triple-double in the Heat’s last three games, to go along with 2 blocks and 2 steals. An all-around, virtuoso performance from the big man. Butler who totaled 27 points and 7 assists against Dallas is the unquestioned leader, best player but Bam may be the most important.
Miami is now 5-0 in overtime games this season.
Miami continues its three-game road trip when they travel to Memphis to take on Ja Morant and the Grizzlies on Monday night.