Jacari McRae | December 14th, 2019
It was fun while it lasted. The Miami Heat‘s 11 game winning streak was snapped by the Los Angeles Lakers in what felt like a playoff game. Up by eight at halftime, the Heat found themselves trailing by 11 in the third period before going into the fourth down by three. From there, the game went back and forth, ending with Jimmy Butler‘s missed three-point attempt at the buzzer. The Heat’s record for the season is now 18-7.
Here are my takeaways from Friday night’s loss to the Lakers.
Second chance opportunities
Rebounding was the ultimate deciding factor in the game, with the Lakers closing with a 50-34 edge. The Lakers also had an 18-7 edge in second-chance points. Outside of Bam Adebayo, the Heat wasn’t getting much rebounding from their other bigs. Starting center Meyers Leonard ended the night with zero boards. That’s not going to work against elite rebounding teams. Miami normally starts evaluating their roster around this time. They need to find a big man that can clean the glass. Whether that’s by trade or free agency.
Derrick Jones Jr providing solid minutes
When discussing the Heat’s young players, we often overlook Derrick Jones Jr. And that’s mostly because of him being sidelined a lot. However, he’s been playing well the past few games, especially on the defensive end. Jones also provided an offensive boost, converting three-pointers and getting to the foul line.
ANOTHA ONE! ✈️ pic.twitter.com/n7AIzmpxam— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 14, 2019
Jones Jr. finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assist.
What’s next for Waiters
For the third time this season, Dion Waiters was suspended for a violation of team rules. In a statement released late Thursday night, the Heat said Waiters “has been suspended without pay for his failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination.” Waiters will have to sit out until after the Heat’s December 23rd game against the Utah Jazz.
With the situation with Waiters and the Heat becoming an ongoing issue, you have to wonder if Waiters will ever play for the Heat again. There also doesn’t appear to be a resolution coming soon either. Teams are not trading for him and the Heat are likely not attaching an asset to move him.
Next up: The Dallas Mavericks. Game tips off at 8:30 pm eastern on Saturday.
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