After getting slaughtered by the Jazz on Saturday the Heat were on a mission to start this one on a good note with Bam and Duncan Robinson doing it on both ends. In doing so they got out to a 7-0 lead. Bam was impressive to start, exploiting Ibaka with his speed while Jimmy acted as a facilitator dishing out 4 assists early.
The Clippers wouldn’t stay silent for long going on an 11-3 run, to get even with the Heat. Statistically, both teams played nearly identical to start this game, making for a back and forth matchup with multiple lead changes.
Miami’s awful interior defense led to unsustainable runs. The Heat would go on small runs to steal the lead (Tyler Herro was fantastic as the sixth man), but give the Clips whatever they wanted from inside the key. You can’t do that and expect to stay ahead. At one point in the second quarter, the Clippers were shooting 90% at the rim - fortunately, it wouldn’t last.
When you’re watching the Heat there’s always a worry that someone unknown will become a nuisance. Amir Coffey appeared destined to be the Heat killer tonight as he hit four threes in the second quarter. Until Marcus Morris stole the spotlight with 26 first-half points - not ideal.
Sparked by Bam Adebayo’s high energy play and Jimmy’s tenacity, the Heat would get things going in the third to take back the lead. Most teams don’t have an answer for when Jimmy drives to the rim, that was the case tonight. It was also necessary with the Heat shooters struggling. But despite the Heat’s offensive improvements, the Clippers still managed to keep it a one-possession game.
The Clippers started to pull away at the start of the fourth quarter, but Bam would will Miami back into striking distance. Unfortunately, the Clippers would take over once more on a 12-2 run and leave the Heat in too big a hole to climb out of (despite Jimmy and Tyler’s best effort in the final few minutes).
The Heat just had no answers for the Clippers’ reserves down the stretch. This was a winnable game against a shorthanded team that Miami let slip away.