The loss snapped Miami’s five-game win streak, though the team had several chances to pull out the road win. A final Jimmy Butler drive ended in heartbreaking fashion as his shot attempt bounced off the rim in the closing seconds that would have tied it at regulation.
All five Heat starters played big minutes and scored in double-figures, but none of the bench players — all of which were signed to emergency 10-day contracts — provided a big enough spark to push back against the Kings in the second half. In contrast, Sacramento had a huge game from reserve Buddy Hield who scored 26 points on 9-18 FG shooting in 33 minutes. De’Aaron Fox scored 24 points for the Kings, and did most of his damage from the free throw line going 14-15.
The Kings shot 51.3% from the field and 38.2% from deep, while the Heat shot 43.8% overall and just 27.3% from beyond the arc. Though the Heat shot a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line, the Kings had 27 attempts and made 22 of them.
Tyler Herro started slow — he scored his first field goal with less than two minutes left in the first half — but finished with 22 points, tying with Omer Yurtseven (his career high) to lead the team. The rookie center also grabbed 16 rebounds for his eighth consecutive double-figure rebound performance.
Butler filed up the box score with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists while Kyle Lowry finished with 14 points and 12 assists. Caleb Martin also had a strong game with 15 points and six rebounds. But it simply wasn’t enough with Miami missing six players in health and safety protocols and five more out due to injury.
The offense was there but the defense just wasn’t up to par, especially without defensive anchor Bam Adebayo. Even when the Heat bounced back from an 18-point first quarter showing to score 39 points in the second quarter, they still allowed 35 points from the Kings. And when Miami broke the 90-90 tie to start the final quarter with seven consecutive points, they allowed Sacramento to retake the lead minutes later.
Yurtseven nailed a midrange jumper with a minute left to get to within two points and Butler tied it at 113-113 with another jumper. Fox then drove to the basket and earned a trip to the free throw line, nailing both attempts for the final score that would hold up after Butler’s missed shot to end the game.