After losing five of their last six games — all on the road — the Miami Heat needed a win Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game also marked the Heat’s jersey retirement ceremony for Dwyane Wade, so the current players didn’t want to ruin the night. And Jimmy Butler missed the game due to personal reasons.
It didn’t matter. Miami didn’t miss a shot until the 6:31 mark of the first quarter. By the halftime ceremony, the Heat had racked up 82 points — a franchise record for scoring in any half. Miami build a lead that crested at 31 points and hung on to win 124-105, improving to 36-20 on the season.
The only blemish? Udonis Haslem went 0-for-5 from the field during a nine-minute stint in the fourth quarter, including a blown dunk.
D-Wade couldn't help but laugh after Udonis Haslem missed a dunk and 3-pointer pic.twitter.com/SOu30ffKK6— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 23, 2020
Miami’s offense fired on all cylinders Saturday night, as the Heat dished out 34 assists on the night. Duncan Robinson made five 3-pointers. Kelly Olynyk, who started alongside Derrick Jones Jr., made four from downtown in an encouraging performance. And Jae Crowder continued his 3-point prowess as a Heat player, going 3-for-6 from downtown.
This was from waaay outside pic.twitter.com/8VcyFbQV6N— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) February 23, 2020
Kendrick Nunn put together a strong offensive game from various parts of the court — he made four 3-pointers and earned six trips to the foul line, making all of them. Nunn finished with a team-high 24 points and eight assists. He’s clearly shaken off the shooting slump that mired his performances during the West Coast road trip before the All-Star break.
In many cases, Bam Adebayo was the catalyst for that efficient Miami offense. Adebayo had nine assists in just 25 minutes, making numerous passes that most big man can’t make. And he showed his explosiveness on this move in the second quarter, evoking memories of Chris Bosh.
Adebayo finished the night with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Although he got a little careless on some of his passes — he turned the ball over five times — Saturday represented another night to appreciate how far Adebayo has come in his third season. He belongs on the stage with other All-Stars.
The night featured many highlight-worthy sequences, including a nice Goran Dragic block that led to a behind-the-back pass to Crowder for a layup. Derrick Jones Jr. had two breakaway dunks that drew fans from their seats even before he jumped.
Dragić with a nice block on Sexton and nifty feed to Crowder for two pic.twitter.com/9ASIm4Qu99— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) February 23, 2020
During the halftime ceremony, Wade delivered a heartfelt speech that opened with a message he wanted to convey — gratitude. He highlighted contributions from his teammates and coaches. He also thanked each member of his family, many of whom were in attendance for the ceremony. And he thanked the Heat staff “who don’t get the credit.” He closed his speech with some words on the late Kobe Bryant.
D-Wade closes his speech with some words on the late Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/DVzMgg4zaD— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 23, 2020
The Heat will face the Cleveland Cavaliers again, this time in Cleveland, Monday night.