Miami saw the return of SG/SF Duncan Robinson on February 16 when the Heat defeated the Orlando Magic 103-96. Robinson played 19 minutes in an effort to shake off the dust, which showed in his 1-for-7 shooting. He missed all three of his trey attempts.
Victor Oladipo (20 pts, 6 reb) scored the Heat’s last seven points to lead Miami in an upset of the beast of the East, Brooklyn Nets. After nailing a three-pointer to break a 123-123 tie, Oladipo went to the line and converted four straight free throws to widen Miami’s lead to 130-123. A last second trey by Kevin Durant finalized the score 130-126. Durant finished with 32 points, while Jimmy Butler scored a new season-high 35 points.
The Heat (18-19) pulled off a thrilling 133-130 victory against Portland (21-17) despite C.J. McCollum’s 36-point performance. Victor Oladipo scored a team high 25 points, but it was the clutch free throw shooting of Trevor Ariza in the final seconds that helped to secure the win — the Heat’s third in a row. Duncan Robinson also had his best offensive performance since returning from injury, scoring 18 points including three treys.
Standings impact: The Heat remain 2.5 games within a playoff spot, and 1.5 games behind the 4th-place Wizards.
Joel Embid scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Sixers past the Miami Heat in the latest battle between the two clubs. Tobias Harris’ was a factor in Philadelphia’s win also. Prior to the latest game, Harris was averaging just 10 points versus the Heat. He finished behind Embid with 22 points, and drained 4 of 6 three-pointers, and Ben Simmons notched 25th double-double of the season (12 points, 10 rebounds).
Jimmy Butler finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds – with most of his scoring (14 points) coming in the first half. The Sixers neutralized Butler in the second half plus he picked up his sixth foul with four minutes remaining in the game.
Just like in the earlier battle that the Sixers won, they controlled the first half. In this game, Philly took a comfortable 11-point lead into the half and shot 58% from the field while the Heat struggled at 40%. But, also like the prior game, the Heat found a way to outscore the Sixers in the last two quarters (55-49). Overall, the Heat continue to fail at defending and rebounding. The Sixers were dominate in defensive rebounding (31 to 20) and scored 16 second-chance points to fuel their win.
The Miami Heat (14-15) closed out January with a huge loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, 128-101. Ben Simmons led both clubs with 26 points. The Sixers won the game in the first half by taking an 80-50 lead into the locker room. But, the Heat have to be encouraged by the fact they outscored Philly in the second half, 51-48 — and will need to take that “secret sauce” into the next time they face Simmons and Joel Embid.
The loss also dropped them a game behind the Washington Wizards who extended their winning streak to three games. Heading into February, Miami is 2.0 games from 9th place Chicago (13-18).
ROBINSON, HERRO ON THE MEND
SG/SF Duncan Robinson could be back with the Heat in 1-2 weeks (projected for Feb 17). SG/PG Tyler Herro’s return is targeted for mid-April.
4 Washington Wizards 14-13 (-4.5)
5 Miami Heat 14-15 (-5.5)
6 Toronto Raptors 13-15 (-6.0)
7 Boston Celtics11-14 (-6.5)
8 Charlotte Hornets 14-18 (-7.0)
KEY UPCOMING GAMES
Feb 10 – Philadelphia 76ers
Rematch. Heat looking for a repeat of their second half performance from last match up.
Feb 12 – @ Washington Wizards
Would love to bite into Washington’s lead in standings.
Feb 15 – Toronto Raptors
Second straight game that could impact place in standings. In this case, put some space between Toronto and Miami.
Feb 18 – Portland Trail Blazers (National TV)
First big game against a top West Conference club of February.
Feb 28 – San Antonio Spurs
Spurs playing good basketball. One of the top clubs in the West.