The Miami Heat have finally snapped their seven-game losing streak. They put up their best performance in a month as they defeated the Sacramento Kings 115-106 at home last night.
Miami was aggressive from the start, building an 18-point lead in the first half and leading from start to finish. Despite the Kings making a run and cutting it to 59-55, Miami refused to lose.
Jimmy Butler took over and asserted his leadership early, scoring 31 points on just 14 shots and shooting 71% from the field, along with seven rebounds and six assists. Miami had four players in double figures, and Bam Adebayo had another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. However, it was Josh Richardson who probably had the biggest impact in the game. Richardson scored 24 points off the bench in place of Duncan Robinson, who is out with illness, and netted six threes in 27 minutes to give Miami a huge offensive boost.
Miami was able to win because they went back to the basics of Heat basketball. The Heat, who rank 20th in the league in assists, were moving the ball all night long and racked up 38 assists as a team. They outrebounded the Kings 49-44 and held them to 106 points. Miami had been soft and effortless on defense recently, allowing more than 115 points in four of the seven games they lost. Miami was able to recover their defensive identity and hold a top-6 team in the West at bay for most of the game.
Coach Spoelstra spoke about urgency after the loss to the Suns, and he was pleased with how his team responded by coming together: “The group poured a lot into the last 24 hours, poured into each other, poured into this process, poured into solutions. We just kind of circled the wagons,” Spoelstra said.
Terry Rozier, despite struggling from the field going 1-6, was crucial in the Heat’s victory, adding 10 assists and adjusting by moving the ball and getting it to Butler and Richardson when they were hot. Jaime Jaquez Jr. started looking more like his old self, scoring 8 points on 3-9 from the field and was a +15 when he was on the court.
Miami is now looking to start a winning streak as they get ready to face the 9-38 Washington Wizards on Friday night. Miami is still tied in 7th place with the Magic and two games out of 6th behind the Indiana Pacers.
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