The Miami Heat’s home game against the Memphis Grizzlies got off on a bad start, when Jimmy Butler missed a layup, fell on his back and remained down for several seconds. The Grizzlies raced to the other end and promptly scored to go up 14-4. Butler, who had missed Miami’s last four games with a tailbone contusion, had re-aggravated his injury.
The Heat’s best player stayed in the game, but checked out in the third quarter for good. He labored to get up and down the floor the rest of the way. With Bam Adebayo already out for several weeks, seeing Butler go down again was disheartening.
The whole night was disheartening for Heat fans, as Miami lost their third straight home game by double figures. The Heat fell to 14-11 on the season in a 105-90 loss the Grizzlies dominated from the tip. Injuries to Adebayo and Butler have now marred a season that got off to a promising 6-1 start.
Miami’s offense again looked anemic. The Heat committed 15 turnovers in the first half alone. Part of that had to do with Butler going just 4-of-13 from the field; he was not close to 100 percent after re-injuring his tailbone so early in the game. The Grizzlies also dominated the Heat on the glass, as Steven Adams collected seven offensive boards for easy second-chance opportunities.
Late in the second quarter, Duncan Robinson pulled Miami to within 50-44. But Desmond Bane hit a 3 on Memphis’ subsequent possession. Memphis went into the half up 11. That’s been the story these last few games. Anytime the Heat make a run, the opposing team responds. Such is life when Miami constantly falls behind early.
Tyler Herro scored 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field to lead the Heat. On the flip side, he twice stepped out of bounds for turnovers. Kyle Lowry added 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting and took seven trips to the foul line, a good sign of his aggression while Adebayo remains out. Lowry will need to continue looking for his shot if Butler misses additional time.
The Ömer block to the Kyle turnaround pic.twitter.com/YFeiVMeMIC— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 7, 2021
After first not using P.J. Tucker as the backup center, Erik Spoelstra went to Omer Yurtseven. But the rookie center couldn’t keep Steven Adams off the bench. Yurtseven had a couple nice blocks and scored six points, but still needs to sharpen his skills to be a quality, NBA-rotation player.
Caleb Martin played 31 minutes off the bench. He went 4-of-7 from the field and scored 11 points. Martin also had a nice dunk that brought some excitement on an otherwise dreary night. The fans at FTX Arena even chanted “MVP!” when Martin went to the foul line late in the fourth quarter — reminiscent of when they did it for Nemanja Bjelica during the Heat’s blowout loss in Game 3 of their first-round sweep to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Heat will host the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night.