In the Miami Heat’s final scrimmage game, Erik Spoelstra went with his usual starting lineup — Jimmy Butler, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Bam Adebayo and Meyers Leonard. And on Miami’s first possession, Butler found Adebayo for a short jumper.
The rest of the game didn’t go so well.
The Memphis Grizzlies dominated Miami from beyond the arc, going 19 for 42 from deep to blow out the Heat 128-110 Tuesday afternoon. Ja Morant easily read the Heat defense to go for 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 12 assists.
like, they're just trolling at a certain point pic.twitter.com/a5GZUaVUzm— Karens In Paris (@NekiasNBA) July 28, 2020
Miami’s bright spots came from their two All-Stars, Butler and Adebayo. The former Marquette product went for 18 points and went 9-of-10 from the free throw line, a sign of his aggression. He even made the only 3-pointer he took Tuesday afternoon. Butler also dished out seven assists, but turned the ball over five times. Miami’s turnovers were particularly costly for a Grizzlies team that ran in transition at every opportunity.
And Adebayo played for the first time since March 11 Tuesday afternoon. He had 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field in 25 minutes. His timing seemed off a few times during the game — understandable given the lack of time on the court for Adebayo — but the Heat’s 2017 first-round pick continued to show the strides he’s made on offense.
Bam didn't have this level of body control with the ball in his hands when he came into the league. Rookie year, this was a tough, contested floater. Has had to develop it as teams schemed him over the past year or so. pic.twitter.com/2m7xMhEyW1— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) July 28, 2020
Unfortunately for the Heat, many other players put in pedestrian games. Miami’s rookie backcourt duo of Nunn and Herro combined to shoot 5-for-23 from the field. They’ll both need to make shots from beyond the arc and around the rim if the Heat are going to advance past the first round.
Perhaps more important, though, was the fact that Morant had his way with either Nunn or Dragic guarding him. Miami’s defense was an issue all season long, and the Heat’s performance in these last two scrimmages has proven that it still needs work.
Tuesday marked the first time that Spoelstra had his full rotation ready to play. (When the Heat made the mid-season trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, Herro and Leonard were both out.) And the Heat coach went 10 deep in the first half before playing Kelly Olynyk, who scored 27 points in the Heat’s second scrimmage game.
Yes, Spoelstra went small and had Derrick Jones Jr., Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala on the court together in the second unit. Now, Spoelstra may not do that once the games start to count. I’d like for him to stagger the minutes of Butler and Adebayo so the Heat have at least one of them on the floor.
Crowder was another bright spot for the Heat, making three 3-pointers in the first half. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists. And the forward showed some of his feistiness after he took an elbow to the chin defending Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas offered his hand as he got up the floor, but Crowder brushed him off.
On the Grizzlies’ next trip down the floor, Crowder extended his elbow to Valanciunas. It was reminiscent of some of the bad blood the Heat have shared with the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers in past playoff battles.
The Heat’s first seeding game is Saturday, Aug. 1 at 1 p.m. against the Denver Nuggets.