Remember those blown leads to bad teams a few weeks ago? The Miami Heat haven’t fixed that issue.
After jumping out to a 20-point lead behind a sizzling first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets, Miami had yet another letdown. The Hornets flipped the script in the second quarter, using a zone defense to flummox an offensively challenged Heat lineup. (Jimmy Butler was out.)
And unlike the Heat’s recent come-from-behind victories against the Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards, Miami couldn’t muster a fourth-quarter rally. Miami found open looks from beyond the arc, but they didn’t drop. Duncan Robinson was just 3-of-13 from downtown — and two of his makes came in the first quarter. Goran Dragic was 0-for-4. Jae Crowder was 2-for-7 from deep.
And the Heat will have a lot of time to think about these issues. The NBA announced that it was suspending the season until further notice after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the season. Miami could’ve clinched a playoff berth with a victory against Charlotte — but now the playoffs appear in doubt.
NBA To Suspend Season Following Tonight's Games pic.twitter.com/2PTx2fkLlW— NBA (@NBA) March 12, 2020
Bam Adebayo did his job, scoring 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, dishing out 10 assists and grabbing six boards.
But Kendrick Nunn was the only player who shot the 3 ball well, going 6-of-10 from beyond the arc. And without Jimmy Butler scoring in the paint, the Heat had nothing — Miami as a team only attempted six free throws. Dragic continued his recent struggles, going just 1-for-9 from the field.
Tyler Herro returned from his 15-game absence Wednesday, and entered to a loud ovation late in the first quarter. He hit his first bucket, but only played that one first-half stint. He was part of a small-ball lineup that couldn’t score; Miami’s big lead dwindled behind careless turnovers, Charlotte second-chance points and frustrating offensive sets that ended in bad shots.
Despite Charlotte’s success of the zone defense, Erik Spoelstra didn’t play Kelly Olynyk save for a five-minute stint in the second half. Olynyk could’ve been valuable as a passer and a shot-maker in the middle of the floor, right in the gap of the zone defense. Olynyk went just 1-for-4 from the field (he also couldn’t make a 3).
On the bright side, Derrick Jones Jr. scored 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field. He even made three 3-pointers in the first quarter. (He’s not a good 3-point shooter, if you didn’t already know.) Spoelstra utilized Jones as the defender on Devonte’ Graham, who scored 30 points and made 8 3s Wednesday night. Despite some good defense from Jones, Graham continued to keep Miami at bay in the fourth quarter.