Another night and another tough Miami Heat loss in what’s shaping up to be a frustrating road trip after a highly entertaining game ends with the Golden State Warriors escaping with the 120-118 victory.
Josh Richardson, with a career-high 37 points, Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow played exceptionally well and any other night it would have translated into a victory but Kevin Durant made sure to answer each crunch time Miami score with one of his own tonight. Just as they did against the Sacramento Kings, there were ample opportunities down the stretch to grab a huge win and for a moment tonight it looked like the Heat would be able to walk away with their biggest win of the season. A pair of DeMarcus Cousins free throws with 5.4 seconds left would be the difference-maker in the end to break a 118-118 tie game.
Just before those free throws, however, the Warriors were the benefits of a crucial no-call when Durant double-dribbled after briefly losing control of the ball at the top of the key and grabbing the ball with both hands. Richardson also looked like he was shoved and displaced by Klay Thompson in the final play, but the refs weren’t calling much the Heat’s way tonight and they weren’t going to do it in a questionable but not a clearly obvious foul.
Miami took a step back in the playoff chase with the loss, its second in the first three games on this road trip, but it goes to show that they have a chance to beat any NBA team when they’re playing at a high level. Though they hardly reached the free throw line all night long, going just 4-8 (compared to Golden State’s 19-26), the team’s 3-point prowess got them quickly back into the game and almost secured the win. Richardson knocked down eight, Waiters had six in his 24-point performance and Winslow had four — his last tied the game in crunch time.
The game started well for the Heat against the notoriously slow-starting Warriors, culminating in a 24-2 run in the first quarter, though that was quickly erased once the home team got going. But the Heat kept clawing back and refusing to allow the game to get out of hand, even with the notable free throw disparity.
Miami, who are now in ninth place in the East playoff standings, will face the Utah Jazz on Monday night at 9:00pm.