While the score doesn’t support the argument, the Miami Heat showed flashes of some of its best basketball of the 2019-20 season.
And that came in the absence of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic, who were inactive for Thursday’s 116-130 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Without their veteran guards, the Heat capitalized from beyond the arc to give themselves an edge early on, as 13-of-24 three-point shooting gave Erik Spoelstra’s team a 73-56 halftime lead.
Extending the score within 23-points with 4:31 remaining in the second quarter, there was a point in which the Heat seemed impossible to stop. While their scoring margin changed dramatically later on, shooting from three-point range remained prolific until the end, making 45.6 percent (21 of 46) of attempts from deep.
Jae Crowder and Duncan Robinson led the Heat’s three-point efforts, with Crowder hitting 4-of-6 shots from deep and Robinson 5-of-9. Meanwhile, Kendrick Nunn (4-of-10), Derrick Jones Jr. (2-of-3), Kelly Olynyk (1-of-4), Tyler Herro (1-of-5), Solomon Hill (1-of-4), Andre Iguodala (2-of-4) and Bam Adebayo (1-of-1) contributed on threes attempted.
Jae Crowder’s three-pointer ignites 18-9 spirt to close the first quarter (04:29 – end of Q1).
Miami started Thursday’s game shooting 4-of-13 on field goal attempts, trailing Milwaukee 16-13 in an early low-scoring affair. That quickly stirred, when Jae Crowder’s second three-pointer of the game fueled an 18-9 run heading into the second quarter.
Crowder, Duncan Robinson, Andre Iguodala and Tyler Herro each added a made shot from beyond the arc during the run, as the Heat extended their lead to 12-points with 00:07 remaining in the first period.
Heat take advantage of Milwaukee’s offensive woes (06:04 – 04:43).
Up 53-39 with 6:30 left in the second quarter, the Bucks struggled to shoot proficiently while recording 8 sluggish turnovers. Miami quickly took advantage of Milwaukee’s issues, as a pair of three-pointers from Duncan Robinson, among other baskets, gave the Heat a 23-point lead with 4:43 left.
Soon after, Miami closed the half with 73 points, the seventh time this season that the team scored more than 70 before the third quarter, marking a franchise record.
Heat evening out Milwaukee’s pair of threes.
The Heat prioritized maintaining its lead to double-digits with nearly two minutes to play in the second quarter. First, a Jae Crowder three-pointer put the lead at 68-46 until Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton changed Miami’s lead to 19 points.
A few possessions later, Bucks center Brook Lopez nailed a corner shot from the beyond the arc with 00:46.7 left on the clock, moving the score to 70-54. That was until Bam Adebayo made a buzzer-beater three-pointer to close the half.
Even after a disappointing loss, things are looking bright for the Heat, as its three-point shooting strives with any player on the court. As for clinching a victory over the No. 1 seeded Bucks, that’ll likely come with the likes of Butler and Dragic.