Miami Heat goalie Kendrick Nunn scored 16 points in Thursday’s opener against Tyler Herro.
Tyler Herro was removed from the Miami Heat game due to “health and safety protocols” about 17 seconds before the shutout. Everyone wanted to know what had happened to the young defender, but head coach Eric Spoelstra could not provide more information after the hard-fought 101-94 victory.
It was the fourth double-double in a row for the Heat, who have slipped in the Eastern Conference standings. Herro’s absence opened the door for reserve guard Max Strouse, who scored 21 points, while Kendrick Nunn started his third game in a row with Herro absent.
“I have no further information,” Spoelstra said of the reasons for Guerro’s departure. “That’s all I’m allowed to say.”
Eric Spoelstra said he learned that Tyler Herro would not be available for today’s 17-second game before addressing his team before the game.
– Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) February 12, 2021
Later, Spoelstra laughed at himself and once again praised the mental strength of his team. He knows what kind of guys are in that locker room, always ready to prove the skeptics wrong.
“We’re five weeks in now,” Spoelstra said of the COWID-19 protocols. “Everyone is so confused about this team that there is a lack of that stupid story. We have incredible mental toughness and stability in this locker room and as a staff because of the way we handle it. We don’t want to make excuses. It’s been five weeks now and the guys have been able to focus on their job.
MAX STRUS WILL DUNK ON YOU pic.twitter.com/2vDYYlZmkh
– Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 12, 2021
Spoelstra is right. Miami has come a long way without key players. Jimmy Butler missed 13 games. Avery Bradley, 15 games. Goran Dragic, eight games. Guerro, eight games. Myers Leonard missed a year. The downside? It was the idea of the Heat.
“I think that’s the norm now, guys missing games,” Butler said. “It’s obviously not good, but like I said, we still expect to win. “We have guys who are able to do what other guys do when other guys are around and that’s the best thing about this team. And we’re getting more and more confident.
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Strus is the core of heat production.
Strouse is on a bilateral contract and is taking advantage of every opportunity. The 24-year-old has played some impressive games, including a 19-point performance on Feb. 1 and a 12-point performance on Jan. 28.
John Wall: Honestly, I feel like I played like shit.
– Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) February 12, 2021
Unexpected? Maybe to the heating fans. Not his teammates.
“He contributed as much to our win as I did,” said Butler, who put up a triple-double (27 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists). “That’s what he does, he throws the ball. I’ve seen him do it every day…. That’s his role on this team, and he’s very good at it”.
His 21 points Thursday night against the Houston Rockets were a new career high and included a shot at John Wall. Struz averaged 5.9 points per game and shot 39.1 percent from deep.
“I would say he got as much out of our victory as I did,” he said.
– Jimmy Butler (27 PTS, 10 AST, 10 REB) on Max Strouse after the triple-double at Houston.#HEATTwitter #NBA #MIAvsHOU pic.twitter.com/RO1pjUun5X
– FOX Sports Sun: Heat (@FOXSportsHEAT) February 12, 2021
“I was just another guard and I thought it was time to step up to the plate when I had the chance, and of course I stood my ground,” Strouse told reporters after the game. “Every time I’m on the court Jimmy says to me, ‘Every time I pass the ball to you, you shoot the ball,’ so having that confidence is very helpful and it gives me confidence.
Next up is Utah Jazz.
Miami flies to Utah for the second game of their seven-game trip. Fortunately, they have a few days off before returning to court on the night of Saturday to Sunday (February 13). The Heat face a very hot Jazz team that has won five games in a row and 16 of the last 17 games. Crazy.
“We know what we can do and what we should do,” Mr. Butler said, “so let’s keep doing what we’re doing.”