The Miami Heat was slow on offense to start this one with Dedmon and Tucker doing most of the work. On the other end, Miami struggled to guard Franz Wagner and Robin Lopez as Orlando got out to a small, but early lead. Unfortunately for Miami, it wasn’t long before the lead ballooned to 10. Eventually, the Heat would pull back thanks to strong play from Kyle and Duncan and go up three. Coach Spo, shifted back to quick rotations so Yurt, Marcus Garrett, and Max Strus saw minutes in the first and would pull back on 23-4 run and take 9 point lead into the second.
Max Strus continued Miami’s run with a three to start the second quarter, and Gabe Vincent would keep that going. Vincent has been impressive lately as he’s embraced a lot of responsibility in a key role. The Magic pulled back with six on an 8-0 run of their own. Still, Miami maintained its lead with Max Strus, and Gabe Vincent scoring consistently. Strus has earned a role in Miami’s rotation, while he’s a great shooter he also cuts well and finishes strong. He was easily Miami’s MVP in the first half scoring 23 points in the first half.
Miami’s defense on the other end was slightly porous with Okeke and Wagner getting some easy buckets from different areas to stay competitive. Kyle Lowry also made his presence known dishing out a ton of assists and showing off his range, sinking shots from the logo towards the end of the half. With Strus surging the Heat took a 9 point lead into the second half.
Gabe Vincent and Dedmon continued to keep Miami ahead to start the third quarter, but turnovers kept them vulnerable. Though Miami stayed ahead sometimes by ten or eleven, the Magic always kept things a little too close for comfort. But with Gabe Vincent absolutely feasting on the Magic (he had 18 points in the quarter with 4 threes) the Heat stayed in control.
It was Robin Lopez who gave Miami problems in the third sinking easy jump hooks 8+ points. Additionally, Okeke and Harris continued to cause headaches with some nice shooting. Still, the Heat persisted and took a 10 point lead into the fourth and final quarter.
Franz Wagner looked to get Orlando off to a nice start in the fourth but a huge Strus and-1 three would put Miami right back in the driver’s seat. He then hit another from 29 feet for his 32nd point of the game. He was spectacular tonight. PJ Tucker was also effective putting up 15 points and setting up his teammates.
With Miami’s offense suddenly stagnating, Orlando wasn’t ready to go quietly with Robin Lopez and Wagner cutting the lead to single digits with just under five minutes remaining. The Heat stayed ahead with Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker delivering with some key buckets. Dedmon also came through with some big rebounds as Miami finished strong with a 10 point win.
Miami’s reserves really showed how capable they are tonight. Both Vincent and Strus had enormous games and the veterans came through when needed. As Miami waits for Jimmy, Bam, and Dipo to return these wins are very important.