The Miami Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets 117-88 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in what was another big game with another big game with the playoffs very much in mind. The Heat came into the game three and a half games back of the Nets but more importantly had the chance to cut the deficit to the eighth seed Charlotte Hornets to just one game.
Miami started the game drawing two early fouls with the first sending Bam Adebayo to the line for what would be two of his six for the quarter. Justise Winslow buried his first three of the night as he would go onto start the game hot and sink his first three attempts as he grabbed seven of Miami’s first nine points.
Josh Richardson got going as he finished off a tough shot after contact, Kelly Olynyk grabbed his first steal of the night which ended with him hitting a three after some good ball movement from the Heat offense. That would force the first Brooklyn time-out with Miami up by three.
Brooklyn would come out of the time-out and go on a 5-2 run to cut the Miami lead in half thanks to a three from Joe Harris and a driving dunk to the rim from Rodions Kurucs. Coach Spoelstra would then use his first time out to try and slow the run.
Heat would then go scoreless until the last two minutes of the quarter as the Nets led by Kurucs, came back within two. Richardson and Rodney McGruder came up with two big three’s, and J-Rich blocked a Brooklyn three-point attempt, as Miami would end the first up by five.
Winslow top scored with nine in the opening period and J-Rich and Bam both had six each as the team shot 47.8 percent for the field.
The second quarter opened up as the Derrick Jones Jr show as he got his first bucket of the night from behind the arc before he took flight for a big dunk off a feed from Richardson.
McGruder and Jones Jr push the lead to nine before McGruder then denied Caris LeVert at the rim. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson once again called a time-out which had a big effect on his team. Nets would go on a run that would see the Miami lead cut to just three, thanks to DeMarre Carroll, Ed Davis and D’Angelo Russell.
With the Miami lead now down to just three, coach Spo needed a time-out to readjust his team, and it would spark a big end to the half from Kelly Olynyk. The Heat big man went on a personal run which saw him take his first-half tally to 14, shooting three of four from behind the arc.
Winslow and Bam also had big first halves as the Heat took a ten point lead into the locker room at the break. Heat held the Nets to just 41 percent from the field and shot 45 percent themselves as they dominated on both ends of the court.
Miami opened the third going on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 16, thanks to Richardson, Dion Waiters, and the very impressive Olynyk, who picked up exactly where he left off in the first. The Heat defense continued to shut out the Nets, with the highlight being a big block from Bam as he rejected Treveon Graham’s layup attempt with force.
Waiters hit his first three of the night before Jones Jr went on a run of three straight, one of which was assisted by Bam who had six assists on the night. It was Jones Jr once again who would provide us with the defense play of the night, after he sent a layup from Spencer Dinwiddie into next week.
With the Heat up by 22 and time running out in the third, it was heading towards garage time. However, given the lead that was blown in Houston just a couple nights ago, Miami wasn’t home and dry (just yet). Dywane Wade managed to get his first bucket to go after he went 0-7 to start the game.
Heading into the fourth and it was that man Olynyk again who would join in on the Heat block party, denying Jared Dudley at the rim. McGruder, Wade, Jones Jr and Olynyk all added further to their totals and Miami was now up by 28 with nine minutes of the game still to go.
Brooklyn’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was handed a technical, after he aired his frustration to the officials for not getting a call on what he thought was a foul. Richardson made the most of the free point as he added one more onto his total.
Heat reached the 100 point mark with 6:34 remaining in the quarter, and it was D-Wade who got his seventh point of the game via a step-back jumper. He then added another two courtesy of a reverse lay up, before Allen Crabbe sent McGruder to the line for two free throw attempts.
Duncan Robinson came off the bench and hit his first three of the night, Robinson was wide open after Olynyk’s driving and kick. The game would then go scoreless until Robinson managed to sink his second triple with three minutes on the game clock.
There was still time for McGruder to add to his points as hit dropped in a driving layup, from Waiters who now had his sixth assist of the night. However, that was effectively the end of the game and the Heat had put together a solid performance on both ends of the court.
This was a big win for the Heat and a much needed win as they are now just one game back of the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth seed. Miami held Brooklyn to just 35 percent from field and did a great job in shutting down the Net’s three point threat, as they restricted them a very poor 20 percent.
Heat also managed a season high 36 assist and Derrick Jones Jr. had a career high 18 points.
Kelly Olynyk - 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists
Rodney McGruder - 17, 6, 2
Derrick Jones Jr. - 18 and 4
Justise Winslow - 13, 4 and 6
Josh Richardson - 12, 5 and 7
Bam Adebayo - 9, 16 and 6
Dwyane Wade - 9, 4 and 4