Grit and grind defined the Miami Heat’s second exhibition at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
With Jimmy Butler (rest) and Bam Adebayo (rest) sitting out the Heat’s second exhibition game, coach Erik Spoelstra chose to put the ball in the hands of his rookies and rotational players.
Stepping up was Kelly Olynyk, who scored 27 points along with eight rebounds. Still, the Heat fell short of their second consecutive win, falling to the Utah Jazz, 101-99.
Miami received help from their usuals, with Tyler Herro scoring 20 points, Duncan Robinson 10, and Derrick Jones Jr. 10 and Jae Crowder nine.
Kendrick Nunn opened his Disney debut with five points and three assists on 2 of 7 shooting in an 18-minute debut.
Utah’s Rudy Gobert was fascinating in his 23-minute showing, adding 21 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley both scored 17 points, while Georges Niang totaled 12 points, including four three-pointers.
The Heat were down 25-28 at the end of the first quarter and evened the score at 47-47 at halftime, before trailing by 13 at one point in the third quarter and by two entering the fourth.
While Miami recovered its deficit and took a two-point lead. a last-minute 11-8 run by the Jazz helped closed the gate on a comeback effort.
With the chance to hit a last-second shot, Miami’s Solomon Hill couldn’t connect from three-point range.
Next up, the Heat take on the Memphis Grizzlies on July 28, concluding their scrimmages and entering “seeding” games.
5 Takeaways on Heat’s Exhibition Loss:
1 – Kelly Olynyk making his case over Meyers Leonard.
Heading into Disney World, it was unknown if Kelly Olynyk was going to be part of Miami’s 10-man rotation. Now, the seven-year pro may be involved in the Heat’s starting lineup after posting 27 points on 10 of 16 shooting.
Not only was Olynyk striving offensively, but he seemingly improved Miami’s efforts on guarding the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert.
After recording 11 points on 4 of 4 shooting in the first quarter, Olynyk limited Gobert to six points in quarter No. 2, forcing him to back into the paint instead of catching the ball over him.
Olynyk, who shot 66.7 percent from beyond the arc in 11 games prior to the league’s hiatus, is finally contributing the way Miami’s looked to use him this season. With confident shooting, mixed with a useful defensive presence, the 6-foot-11 center is quickly earning himself playing time before the Heat take on the Denver Nuggets in their first of eight “seeding” games.
“We’ve had a lot of guys stand out in camp and he’s had one of the better camps,” coach Spoelstra said on Olynyk’s performance following Saturday’s loss. “Before we stopped he was playing some of his best basketball of the season and he’s continued that right now.”
As for Meyers Leonard, early foul trouble haunted his evening, as Gobert dominated inside while he couldn’t find his groove, going scoreless on 0 of 3 shooting. Still, Leonard, who missed Miami’s last 16 games before the season was put on hold, continues to work his way back into his pace.
2 – Who’s stopping Rudy Gobert?
There’s nothing easy when it comes to taking on Rudy Gobert.
Collecting 21 points and five rebounds on 8 of 9 shooting, the seven-footers ability to take advantage of numerous size mismatches was useful en route to an excellent performance. The same goes for Mike Conley, who’s six points inside the paint helped Utah gain a 13-point lead late in the third quarter.
With the Heat just a week away from playing games with an actual impact, taking care of the paint remains a priority to enhance.
3 – Tyler Herro continues to improve at point guard.
Despite two early turnovers for Herro, he quickly found his grove at the point, garnering 4 assists in 30 minutes of action.
Sharing touches with Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic, the rookie guard continues to develop his all-around efficiency and playmaking abilities. At the same time, Herro contributed to 20 points and seven rebounds on 8 of 16 shooting.
“He’s fearless, but you can see how he’s continuing to develop his skill level,” Spoelstra said on Herro.
4 – Holding Duncan Robinson to one made three-pointer was Utah’s kryptonite.
From early on, Robinson was being clustered into passing the ball or driving to the paint.
Finishing 1 of 5 from deep, Robinson’s off night translated to the Heat’s three-point shooting, in which 11 of 43. In fact, Utah ran their defense similar to Miami’s playing some man-to-man and even 2-3 zone as they limited the Heat to just 99 points.
This season, the Heat’s record when shooting 42 percent or higher from deep is 20-3. However, when shooting 30 percent or less, their record is 0-11. That all starts with Robinson’s feel for the game.
It’s worthy to note that Miami did play without Butler and Adebayo, causing disruptions to the Heat’s regular offensive style of play.
5 – We saw some Kyle Alexander, but where’s KZ Okpala?
For the first time, there was a glimpse of action for Kyle Alexander in a Miami Heat uniform.
While he didn’t add anything to the stat sheet in his two minutes, the six-foot-10 forward seems vulnerable to use inside the paint and for a necessary screen.
That now leaves Bam Adebayo, KZ Okapala and Udonis Haslem as the only players in the roster to not touch the floor in any of Miami’s two scrimmages.
With Adebayo expected to start vs. the Grizzlies in their final exhibition and Haslem, 40, serving the captain role on the bench, Okpala is the only player on the team with an unknown timetable when it comes to making an appearance at Disney.