In the Miami Heat’s first game boasting the all-new Trophy Gold jerseys, the team defeated the Orlando Magic 111-103 at home in its first game following the All-Star game. This win puts the Heat at 19-18, its first winning record of the year.
Heat star Bam Adebayo missed the contest with a lingering injury from before the break, leaving KZ Okpala to fill into the starting role once more. The Heat was led to victory by star Jimmy Butler, who finished the game with 27 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists and three steals, which moved the team’s record to 15-8 in games played with Butler.
Outside of Butler, the team got a balanced attack from its remaining rotation, with head coach Erik Spoelstra adjusting for the matchup and inserting new faces into the lineup. Moe Harkless and Chris Silva filled in off the bench, Harkless’s first action since Feb. 15 and Silva’s first since Jan. 16. That pair finished with four points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes combined.
Kelly Olynyk joined Butler in the 20-point club, five of which came in the last two and a half minutes to help seal the win for the Heat. Olynyk finished with four 3-pointers along with seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Other double-digit scorers for Miami included Tyler Herro, who had 17 points, five assists and four rebounds, Kendrick Nunn, who had 13 points and Goran Dragic, who finished with 11 points and five assists.
With 5:40 left in the game, Magic star Nikola Vucevic hit two free throws to bring Orlando to within one, at 95-94. From that point, the Heat went on a 16-9 run to close out the contest, propelled by Butler and Olynyk.
It’s encouraging to see this type of win from the Heat after getting down in the second half, especially considering the team is still missing Adebayo and Avery Bradley. Even more encouraging, was the hustle and play of some of its forward/center pieces, including Harkless, Okpala, Silva and Precious Achiuwa.
Even more impressive, the Heat shot 45.1% from the floor, 32.7% from deep and 59.1% from the charity stripe while getting outrebounded 59-44 and still managed to come away with the win. Furthermore, Vucevic scored 24 points and 17 rebounds while Dwayne Bacon and Michael Carter-Williams combined for 38 points.
Next up, the Heat will look to build on its back-to-back wins, with five of its next six games coming against teams that are below .500. The first of those teams are the Chicago Bulls, with that game coming tomorrow, Friday, March 12.