At the outset of a minimum two-week stretch without their leading scorer, the Miami Heat might need to get creative beginning Saturday at the Atlanta Hawks.
Tyler Herro sustained a Grade 2 ankle sprain, sustained when he landed on the foot of Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. during the first quarter of Wednesday’s 108-102 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Without Herro’s 22.9 points per game, where will coach Erik Spoelstra find his offense?
Naturally, Bam Adebayo (22.7 points per game) is top of mind after he followed up a triple-double against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday with a season-high 30 points versus the Grizzlies.
Jimmy Butler (18.4 ppg) is capable of keeping the scoreboard operator busy, while 37-year-old Kyle Lowry stepped up with a season-high 17 points on Wednesday to help Miami notch its third straight win.
Lowry is the elder statesman of the team. And perhaps it’s time for the youngest member of the club to step up when called upon.
Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. did precisely that Wednesday, finishing with a season-best 11 points to go along with three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench.
“He made some big plays down the stretch on both ends of the court,” Spoelstra said of the 22-year-old Jaquez, who was selected by Miami with the 18th overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. “Defensively, he was very good. He just has great instincts for the ball, he’s physical and he has some poise and savvy to him defensively. So he can play with the vets because he is an older player even though he’s a rookie. Then offensively, he figures out how to fit in and make some plays.”
Jaquez drained a 3-pointer with 18.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
“Being where I am, being a rookie, you got to take these steps and I just try to keep moving forward, take steps in the right direction and not take any steps back and just do whatever I can to win,” Jaquez said, per the Miami Herald. “I think when you focus on what you need to focus on, when you focus on winning, playing hard, playing defense, taking the right shots, good things end up happening.”
The Hawks have enjoyed the early portion the schedule, winning five of their last six games.
Trae Young erupted for 33 of his 41 points in the first half to lift Atlanta to a 120-119 victory over the Orlando Magic on Thursday in Mexico City.
“He’s a competitor and he’s been grinding. He really has,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said of Young, who averages a team-best 24.1 points and 10.1 assists per game. “… (On Thursday), he got to see the ball go in the basket. He deserves that because he’s kept a really great focus, defending and doing all those things trying to make other people better.”
Young averaged 19.8 points and 9.8 assists in four games against Miami last season. The Heat won three of those contests, however.
–Field Level Media
When it comes to the perks Florida Atlantic earned following last season’s run to the Final Four, Tuesday’s ranks pretty high as the 13th-ranked Owls travel to New York to…
No. 10 Tennessee finds itself in an unusual position just seven games into the season — mired in a three-game losing streak. The Volunteers will try to snap that skid…
Tai’Reon Joseph scored 27 points and Bandon Davis had five of his 12 points during a closing 12-0 run as Southern stunned No. 21 Mississippi State 60-59 on Sunday in…
Trying to avoid early-season spiral, No. 10 Tennessee hosts George Mason
Top 25 roundup: Southern stuns No. 21 Mississippi State
Brandon Angel, Stanford blast San Diego
Jamison Battle beats up on old team as Ohio State tops Minnesota