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Shorthanded Heat dominate second half, defeat Rockets 113-91

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Kendrick Nunn led the way with 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting.

Houston Rockets v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Miami Heat went into Monday night’s home game against the Houston Rockets without Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo. And although Miami went into halftime with a one-point deficit, they went on a decisive third-quarter run and buried the Rockets in the fourth quarter to improve to 30-28 on the season.

Midway through the third, Dewayne Dedmon dunked on back-to-back possessions to put Miami up 74-70.

A couple minutes later, Andre Iguodala and Duncan Robinson made 3s on consecutive possessions to pull Miami ahead 82-72. Another 3 from Robinson made it a 87-72 game with 1:35 left to go in the period. Twenty-eight seconds later, Trevor Ariza made a nifty pass to Dedmon for a layup.

And from there, it was just about putting Houston away. Kendrick Nunn made a deep 3-pointer and then, 30 seconds later, darted ahead after an Iguodala steal for a breakaway layup.

Goran Dragic iced the game when he blocked John Wall on one end of the floor and then calmly sunk a 3 on the other end, putting the Heat up 105-82. That was part of a 14-0 fourth-quarter run that led both teams to empty their benches.

A day after the Heat’s thrilling victory over the Brooklyn Nets, this win was another encouraging sign. Nunn looked like the player who burst onto the scene as an NBA rookie Monday night, finishing with 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field and 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. Nunn also recorded seven rebounds and eight assists. He’s made a real case to keep his spot in the rotation when Victor Oladipo comes back.

Robinson finished 5-of-11 from downtown to score 19 points in 29 minutes. Since the trade deadline — when reporters mentioned his name in trade talks — Robinson has shot an incredible 59 of 120 from 3-point range. Tonight, Robinson continued to show his value for this team, even without Adebayo’s dribble hand-offs.

The Heat also got good production from Dragic and Iguodala, two veterans who will be key to the Heat’s playoff chances. They combined to go 7-for-11 from 3-point range. Iguodala in particular was active on defense, swiping to knock the ball out of Olynyk’s hands early.

On the other hand, KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa were uneven. Okpala missed all six of his attempts from downtown — including an air-ball in the fourth quarter. The 2019 second-round pick made a nice fake for a score early in the fourth, but that was about it.

And though he grabbed 11 rebounds, Achiuwa also turned the ball over three times and missed a few shots at the rim. Achiuwa started for Miami, but Dedmon has already shown himself to be the far better player both tonight and Sunday afternoon.

The Heat will continue their grueling schedule in San Antonio Wednesday night for an 8:30 p.m. tip.