Clinging to a four-point lead with 4:22 left in the Miami Heat’s game against the Utah Jazz Monday night, the Heat clutch scoring to come away with a victory against a team that entered the night 18-11.
Rookie Tyler Herro again did that.
Herro made three straight baskets on Miami’s following possessions — the last one putting Miami up eight with 2:28 left to go — to give the Heat enough of a cushion to withstand the Urah Jazz, 107-104. Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler went 4-for-4 on free throws in the final nine seconds to ice the game.
Herro finished with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field. Miami also played well before those clutch buckets from Herro, though. The Jazz led by seven late in the third period, but the Heat built a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter — and it all happened with Butler on the bench.
Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr. played stifling defense to open the quarter, creating breakout opportunities. Just look at this sequence below — Adebayo and Jones Jr. double-team Donovan Mitchell, and Adebayo recovers to steal an entry pass intended for Rudy Gobert. The Heat win a scramble for the ball, and Herro walks into an open 3 on the other end of the court.
If the Heat pull this game out, remember this sequence. pic.twitter.com/X124XYQCMj— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) December 24, 2019
Adebayo’s fourth-quarter effort was especially needed because he struggled through the first three quarters offensively. Gobert bothered him, but Adebayo also missed some floaters he’s capable of making. He’ll need to continue refining his shooting touch to improve, but Adebayo deserves credit for continuing to play with intensity. He finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
Bam is an All-Star. pic.twitter.com/bilI7DenA1— [insert doppelganger here] (@NekiasNBA) December 24, 2019
Goran Dragic also offered a needed boost for the Heat, hitting a buzzer-beating jumper to end the third quarter and directing Miami’s offense to open the fourth, including hitting a 3-pointer on a night the Heat struggled from deep. Miami clearly missed Dragic’s floor general abilities during his nine-game absence and is much better with him back.
Jones Jr. played 31 minutes off the bench, continuing to log heavy minutes in Justise Winslow’s absence. (Kelly Olynyk played just seven total minutes, not getting off the bench in the second half.) And he continued to prove his case for staying in the rotation once Winslow returns, with his great defense and explosiveness offensively. Jones even had an amazing dunk on Gobert in the second quarter.
Butler led Miami with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds. Aside from his usual production, Butler got Meyers Leonard involved in the offense, finding him for the Heat’s first bucket and for an alley-oop dunk late in the first quarter. Leonard finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds on the night, a good game for the Heat’s starting center.
What's not to love about this whole sequence?! pic.twitter.com/FCGOykAFil— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 24, 2019
The Heat will be off until Friday, when they face the Indiana Pacers at 8 p.m.