Meyers Leonard enjoyed a rare double-double, Jimmy Butler poured in 24 points and Tyler Herro looked much more comfortable coming off the bench with 23 points to help lead the Miami Heat to a 102-89 road win versus the Orlando Magic.
Rookie Kendrick Nunn returned to action to replace fellow rookie Herro in the starting lineup and though he had only six points in 17 minutes to shake off some of the rust, it made the bench that much stronger. Herro did much of his damage in the fourth quarter, as is customary for the flashy guard, and shot 7-12 from the field and 6-10 from beyond the arc in just 26 minutes.
Butler was his usual aggressive self and drove to the paint consistently throughout the game with power and finesse, going 8-9 from the charity stripe and 8-15 from the field.
Easily the most surprising performance of the night came from starting center Myers Leonard, who was ultra-aggressive offensively right from the start from the game and had one of his best games with the Heat with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Though he might have taken a few ill-advised shots in the final quarter, he showed impressive range by going 4-9 from deep and 7-14 overall from the field.
Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr. may not have had the most impressive stats in the box score tonight but each contributed in their own way for the victory. Miami’s first-time All-Star had a frustrating night on the offensive side going just 1-8 and never quite finding a rhythm but with Leonard’s offense it freed up Bam to showcase the rest of his rapidly expanding game. In addition to 14 rebounds, he also dished out five assists, stole the ball three times and racked up four blocks, including a pair that helped preserve the lead during crunch time. Jones Jr. had a nice corner 3 in the first half but made his mark keeping the ball alive for his teammates and with his trademark energy. He grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals and three blocks in 28 minutes off the bench.
Turnovers continue to be a problem and it was no different against the pesky Magic tonight, allowing the home team chances to stay within striking distance but the Heat’s defense limited the well-rested Magic to 39.8% FG shooting and just 27.3% three-point shooting. This was despite Aaron Gordon’s unusually good shooting night (4-7) from long range.
It was an encouraging sign to see the Heat’s defense limiting the Magic to only 40 total points in the second half on their way to improving their road record to 12-12 for the season. Orlando never truly threatened to turn the game around, though Terrence Ross could have cut the deficit to four points in the closing moments of the game but his three-point attempt missed the mark. Herro immediately responded with a made three-pointer to ice the game and restore the lead to double-digits.