With 3:39 left to go in the Miami Heat’s road visit with the Memphis Grizzlies, Erik Spoelstra called a timeout. The Grizzlies held an 83-76 lead, so Miami needed one last push to have a chance to win.
Out of the timeout, Bam Adebayo found Tyler Herro for a 3. On Memphis’ subsequent possession, Jimmy Butler came up with a big steal and a breakaway layup. Miami was within 81-83. And about two minutes later, Herro drove to the basket after an offensive rebound to tie the game at 83-83 with 1:12 remaining. (Yes, both teams struggled offensively down the stretch. This game was there for either team.)
The game was tied 85-85 with just 8.9 seconds left after Goran Dragic made two free throws. And the Grizzlies were out of timeouts, so they’d need to go the length of the court to score. But Ja Morant drove past Butler and made a finger roll at the rim to give Memphis an 87-85 lead. Only 1.2 seconds remained.
Spoelstra called a timeout, and the Heat had Adebayo attempt to throw a lob pass to Butler. But Kyle Anderson stole the ball, and Miami was done. The Heat’s five-game win streak ended Wednesday night.
The Heat looked like a team that played its fifth game in seven nights tonight. Miami shot just 36 percent from the field and an abysmal 8-for-34 (23.5 percent) from 3. The Heat couldn’t buy a bucket to end the third quarter, and the Grizzlies went on a 17-0 run to close the quarter. That turned an eight-point Heat lead into a nine-point Memphis advantage heading into the fourth.
And midway through the final period, Duncan Robinson missed two wide open 3-pointers. That’s unlike him, but it was also frustrating to see Butler pull up from 3 with plenty of time on the shot clock a couple times in the fourth. Goran Dragic was 0-for-4 from 3, including two attempts in the final 80 seconds of the game. Simply put, Miami had plenty of chances to win — even with it being the fifth game in seven nights.
Butler was the only Heat player who played well. He shot 10-for-20 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in 36 minutes of action. At times, he looked ready to take control of the game.
*nightly Jimmy is in a zone tweet* pic.twitter.com/asKFHEkQ6I— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 18, 2021
But in a sign of his lack of aggression, he attempted six 3s and just three free throws. Although Adebayo finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, he missed several shots in the paint he should make.
Kendrick Nunn was just 2-for-10 from the field. Among all the Heat guards — Nunn, Robinson, Dragic, Herro — Miami got a lot of inefficiency.
And in the frontcourt, Andre Iguodala was out with an injury, and Kelly Olynyk was in foul trouble all night. He only played 18 minutes. KZ Okpala got 20 minutes of action. Though he had a nice block on Jonas Valanciunas in the fourth here, Okpala had zero points and zero rebounds. Trevor Ariza can’t come soon enough.
KZ giving it everything pic.twitter.com/oz0KuN5jHq— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 18, 2021
And Precious Achiuwa had a bad night. He was just 1-for-5 from the field and missed both of his free throws. He needs to get better at finishing at the rim.