Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, and Jimmy Butler got on the board first for Miami. The Heat played fast-paced to start this one, pushing up the floor in transition to try and take the Nets by surprise. Lowry continued to quarterback the Heat, getting off some pretty crafty passes to set up some beautiful buckets.
Miami’s defense was impressive early on, forcing shot clock violations and multiple turnovers. Still, the Nets kept themselves within striking distance thanks to good shooting from Joe Harris and Blake Griffin.
Jimmy Butler was fantastic early in the game, playing aggressively, putting up 8 points, and grabbing 4 rebounds in the first quarter.
Tyler Herro entered the game towards the end of the first quarter and put up seven points in two minutes. Herro put in a ton of work over the summer and the improvement is apparent. Herro is a true SMOTY candidate, and really with the way, he’s playing he could probably start. Though the Heat was awful from three to start, but with the offense firing inside, they’d end the first quarter up seven.
The Heat offense was stagnant to start the second quarter, but Lowry’s crafty playmaking allowed Miami to maintain the lead. Lowry makes a world of difference out there, he recognized Bam’s lack of aggressiveness early and almost forced him to get buckets and had him rolling. He’s a true floor general and was just straight-up impressive running the offense.
James Harden and Kevin Durant would eventually come to life (Harden had nine points in a row) and lead the Nets right back within two points. They’d go an 18-6 run and take the lead. The Nets would steal back the lead on their impressive run and go into the second half up two.
The Heat was dreadful from three in the first half shooting an abysmal 2/16 from beyond the arc.
Miami’s offense was flat to start the second half, while the Nets were hot, hitting some tough shots and taking their largest lead of the game. Luckily, Bam would force his way to the line and Lowry would finally hit a three to breathe some life into the Heat offense. PJ Tucker was solid, hitting some key buckets for a 9-0 Heat run and Kyle Lowry would extend that. Tucker’s ability to get into tight places, bang with anybody, and make plays out of nothing, is an enormous addition to this team.
Duncan Robinson’s three-point streak also continued stretching that run out to 14-0 giving Miami back the lead.
Still, the Nets didn’t slow down getting Joe Harris open for some big threes. The Nets move the ball around incredibly well and with a true point guard they’d be very dangerous. James Harden also got involved again, and though he’s obviously not in full game shape given his injury recovery, he’s still one of the best players in the league. This kept the score very tight.
Herro and Dedmon made some huge plays allowing the Heat to go into the fourth up seven.
A Joe Harris three to open the fourth wasn’t ideal, but Bam would make up for it with an enormous slam off a great lob from Lowry. Max Strus and Bam extended the lead, but Brooklyn chipped away making it too close for comfort. The Heat leaned on Bam on both ends, which resulted in a couple of highlight plays, but left them vulnerable after some missed shots. A big Kevin Durant three put the Nets right back within three-putting pressure on Miami.
Miami came up with some huge defensive stops down the stretch thanks to Jimmy and Dedmon. Some fantastic playmaking on both ends by Jimmy and Bam allowed the Heat to extend their lead. Jimmy, Bam, and Kyle continued to break the Nets defense to give Miami a 12 point lead and they wouldn't stop there thanks to a PJ dagger three to make it 15.
The Heat struggled in some areas tonight, but they showed resilience and were relentless on both ends down the stretch. This was an impressive win and one that showed the true potential of the Miami Heat team.