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Heat can’t complete comeback, lose to Kings 119-113

Miami drops to 2-5. Time to panic?

Miami Heat v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings, who were winless in four matchups heading into Saturday, fended off the Miami Heat, 119-113, shutting off Miami’s water after it trimmed it to one (after trailing by 22) midway through the fourth quarter.

Miami outscored the Kings 64-48 in the second half, but its lethargic energy for the better part of opening 24 minutes on both ends were the centerpiece to its hole it dug. In the first half, Sacramento shot 63.6 percent, outscored Miami 36-14 in the paint and held the Heat to 37.2 percent shooting, despite being the NBA’s sixth-worst defense heading into the affair.

Miami nearly looked like a completely different team after halftime, however. Jimmy Butler’s and-one two-handed slam cut it to one with 6:15 to go, but the Heat couldn’t generate many stops when they needed to thereafter. Sacramento went on to net five of their final nine attempts and subsequently held the Heat to 4-of-11 shooting over that final 6:15 span.

While he didn’t have the best playmaking afternoon, Tyler Herro’s scoring dominance in the second-half really influenced its comeback effort. He scored a game-high 34 points —15 in the fourth — on 13-of-22 shooting with five 3-pointers.

Bam Adebayo had 23 points with six rebounds, four assists and one block on 9-of-16 shooting; Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, combining to can 7-of-19 from the floor with 11 combined assists. Butler led the team in rebounds, while both Butler and Lowry had two steals apiece.

Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray were Sacramento’s two leading scorers. Huerter tallied 27 points on 7-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Murray had 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

De’Aaron Fox had 17 points on 6-of-17 shootng with a career-high 13 rebounds plus five assists; Domantas Sabonis, who was limited to 23 minutes after battling foul trouble and fouling out with 9:59 left, had 18 points with seven rebounds on 8-of-9 shooting.

Collectively, the Heat, who fell to 2-5 on the season, shot 42.7 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent from 3-point range. Sacramento shot 55.3 percent and 14-of-31 from 3-point range.

Ultimately, the issues that plagued Miami over the previous six games spiked up again. It got outrebounded 43-to-34; the Heat lacked point-of-attack defense against an exceptionally quick Fox; it got abused in the paint (Charlotte shot 26-of-40 in the paint and 18-of-21 at the rim); Sacramento converted for 28 points off eight Heat turnovers and outscored Miami 17-8 in transition.

Sure, it’s still early. But the Heat are now 2-5 and will have to do some soul-searching. Their next game is on Tuesday at home against the reigning champion Golden State Warriors, their second meeting in less than a week.