Max Strus (see below) hit the game-winning 3-pointer 11 seconds into the sudden-death second-overtime. He posted a game-high 32 points on 9-of-22 shooting, including 7-of-17 from 3-point range. He added nine rebounds with one steal in 37 minutes.
Three other Heat players tallied double-figure scoring — including a double-double from Omer Yurtseven, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds on 10-of-19 shooting.
Six Grizzlies finished with double figures. Ziaire Williams, the No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft, had 19 points on 4-of-6 shooting from deep; Desmond Bane, the No. 30 pick in the 2020 draft, added 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor.
The Heat move to 2-0 in the Las Vegas Summer League, while Memphis falls to 1-1.
Here are my four takeaways from today’s game:
1. The Strus was loose
As I noted above, Strus had himself a game, posting 32 points with seven 3-pointers — including the ever-deciding game-winner.
MAX STRUS WINS IT IN DOUBLE OT pic.twitter.com/tAHP148iSo— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 11, 2021
Strus showcased an aggressive mentality from the tip — though it didn’t generate many early points. He eventually found his groove, quickly transitioning into the Heat’s only source of half-court offense. Strus knocked down the Heat’s first four 3-pointers — the first coming with 7:31 in the second quarter.
Going back to the final game of the California Classic — Strus’ first Summer League appearance — he’s averaging 24.0 points on 42.3 percent shooting and 40.5 percent from distance.
It’s no secret that Strus isn’t afraid to hoist it from deep off an assortment of pin-downs, flare screens, and dribble handoffs. Those were — and will continue to be — the shots he constantly hunts, fashioning just enough of a gravitational pull for the rest of the team to operate.
That said, throughout these three contests, he’s featured a diverse scoring attack. He’s bursting through open creases in the defense off the dribble. He’ll begin by ripping through and exploding with a quick first step, followed by dipping his shoulder to create space and potentially finish through contact.
He isn’t resting in one spot and finding spot-up looks; similarly to teammate Duncan Robinson, one of the best shooters in the league, Strus is hunting looks with constant motion. Although not all of them have been open looks, Strus has exuded confidence whenever the ball touches his hands.
He re-signed to a two-year, $3.5 million minimum deal this offseason and is certainly making a case for regular rotation minutes for this upcoming season.
2. Comeback kings!
The Heat mightily struggled to generate offense in the first half, shooting just 38.9 percent from the floor and 23.5 percent from the 3-point line. It trailed by 11 entering halftime, though it felt like more.
They battled back from a 20-point deficit with gritty, aggressive #HEATCULTURE™-esque defense paired with converting healthier looks on the other end. There were no ties or lead changes in the first three quarters.
That changed in the final 10-minute period, as Miami snagged its first lead, 75-74, on a pair of free throws from KZ Okpala with 4:30 remaining. Williams quickly responded, knocking down a 3-pointer off a pin-down to re-give Memphis the 77-75 lead. It marked his first second-half basket.
Both teams traded leads for the remainder of the contest.
With less than 15 seconds, Memphis led 88-86. Yurtseven and Marcus Garrett blitzed Bane on the pick-and-roll, leading to a steal from Heat guard DeJon Jarreau, who tagged from the weakside. Miami finished the 3-on-2 fastbreak with Jarreau’s lob to Yurtseven, tying the game with 5.2 seconds remaining.
Grizzlies didn't seem to have much of a plan against the shotclock here and Yurtseven makes a great defensive play stepping up to the ball before being rewarded on the other end. pic.twitter.com/v93P20B4U3— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) August 11, 2021
Williams threw a bad pass out-of-bounds on the ensuing SLOB, followed by Strus’ contested 3-point miss, forcing overtime.
Yurtseven’s length forced the sudden death Overtime. With four seconds left, the 7-footer stayed in front of Xavier Tillman on the inbounds pass, contesting — and nearly blocking — Tillman’s jump-hook, which fell short as time expired.
Appropriate that a Yurtseven stop on Tillman forces sudden death pic.twitter.com/adXS33JDQr— E'Twaun Paramoore (Still Suspended) (@MarcoRomo_) August 11, 2021
Though the end result might sway any negative emotion, Miami didn’t have the prettiest 48-minute shooting performance. Strus accounted for all but three 3-pointers on 39 total attempts — equating to a 26.5 percent clip as a team; Memphis shot 41.7 percent from distance. The Heat shot 40.5 percent from the floor compared to Memphis' 43.0 percent mark.
That said, the difference came at the free-throw line, where Miami shot 19-of-24 (79.2 percent) compared to the Grizzlies’ dismal 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) mark. Miami’s second-half surge helped that, after a dreadful first half, the Heat turned it up a notch defensively.
In the first half, the Heat were a minus-6 (9-3) in the turnover battle; they finished a plus-two (14-16) in the turnover battle, a plus-eight in the rebounding battle, and a plus-four in the block total.
3. Omer Yurtseven returns, establishing a late presence
In his first game back after inking a two-year, $3.5 million deal — similar to Strus’ — Yurtseven returned. He missed Sunday’s 20-point victory due to a foot blister.
An important reason for Miami’s second-half push came from the emergence of Yurtseven.
He got off to a quiet start, but finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks, shooting 10-of-19 from the floor. He tallied six of Miami’s nine combined overtime points, all coming from the painted area.
“[Omer Yurtseven] had a slow start but that didn’t bother him, which is what we love,” Strus said postgame. “His confidence stays the same. We asked more out of him and he answered.”
Max Strus: Omer had a slow start but that didn't bother him, which is what we love. His confidence stays the same. We asked more out of him and he answered. I told him at halftime I needed more out of him. I'm proud of him. pic.twitter.com/eigac4mc13— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) August 11, 2021
Yurtseven had just four points on eight shots in the first half, failing to find a groove.
He even needed a pep talk from Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, who re-signed a one-year, $2.6 million minimum deal Wednesday morning. Haslem was spotted on the bench with Bam Adebayo.
Udonis Haslem in Omer Yurtseven's ear on the bench.— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) August 11, 2021
His first second-half bucket resulted in a thunderous one-handed slam over Santi Aldama. Yurtseven’s stock shot up from there.
He added five third-quarter points with eight more in the fourth, including the alley-oop finish that I touched upon above.
In his three summer league contests. He’s averaged 25.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game on 53.6 percent shooting and 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Similar to Miami’s other recent under-the-radar discoveries — Robinson, Strus, and former Heat guard Kendrick Nunn — Yurtseven’s opened a flurry of eyes leaguewide, fans and otherwise.
4. A sudden death Overtime period?
Here are the overtime rules for the Las Vegas Summer League:
- First overtime constitutes a two-minute period.
- Bonus is called after the second-team foul.
- One timeout for each team in each period.
- The first team to make a bucket in the second Overtime wins the game
Should the NBA implement this for.......every game?
As a basketball fan, I can see both sides of the coin as to why fans may, or may not like this. One side would be that heads would spin; it would make for an even more exciting product.
The downside you ask? Two words: Social media.
You’d see the “Well, Team A only won because they made a lucky layup 14 seconds into the game” takes flying around social media. Conversely, you’d scroll across the “Well Team B should’ve played better defense,” from the opposing viewpoint.
You could mail those takes in already — especially if it was a semi-important game to affect seeding or the result of an actual playoff game.
I understand the time crunch that Summer League is in, but how much excitement would this draw for a full 82-game slate?
The thrill was present for Wednesday’s Summer League game. Though not a sizeable portion of games make it into second-overtime, imagine the heart-pounding chaos for a regular-season game.
It’s something the league should consider, though I might have to stay away from Instagram or Twitter on nights it occurs.
If you want to see Matt’s Heat takes, along with more incessant sports-centric tweets, follow Matt Hanifan on Twitter @mph_824.