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Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler, left, drives against Houston Rockets guard James Harden during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Gaston De Cardenas)

Heat Cruise Over Rockets to a 5-1 Start

The Miami Heat (5-1) dominated the Houston Rockets (3-3) en route to a 129-100 victory. Miami set a franchise record with 46 points in the first quarter and never looked back, leading the whole game.

Last night’s win continues a blazing start to the season for the Heat. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler in the offseason has been a difference-maker, and the small forward has already paid dividends for Miami. Butler thought the defense played a big part in the victory.

Heating Up

Going into Sunday night’s game, the Heat had already beaten a talented Bucks team as well as the Grizzlies and Hawks (twice). Even still, their victory over the Rockets could be their most impressive win thus far. They made a case for the Heat’s best quarter in franchise history, outscoring the Rockets 46-14 in the first quarter.

The Heat made 16 of 23 shots from the field, while Jimmy Butler scored 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting. On the other side of the ball, the Rockets shot just 5 of 21 from the field.

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Struggles for Houston

For Houston, their loss Sunday night continues a sluggish start to the season. Even after making a surge late in the first half to reduce a 41-point lead to 25, they lost any feeling of momentum with their start to the second half.

It took Houston over five minutes to make their first field goal of the second half. During that time, the Heat reestablished their overwhelming lead.

The story of the season for the Rockets so far has been poor defense. In each of their first six games, they’ve given up more than 100 points. In fact, they entered Sunday’s game allowing a league-worst 126.6 points per game. Of course, a six-game sample isn’t enough to make judgments about the team, but it certainly hasn’t been a promising start for Houston, especially after trading for star guard Russell Westbrook in the offseason.

Leading Performances

The Heat had six players score in the double digits on the night. Duncan Robinson made seven three-pointers, scoring 23 points. Center Meyers Leonard dominated inside the paint with 21 points.

James Harden knocked down an impressive 29 points, but 14 of those points came on free throws and the guard only had 4 assists. Even still, their defense couldn’t get the job done on the road, and a worrisome pattern continues for the Rockets.

Outlook

The Rockets will try to get back in the win column against a struggling Memphis Grizzlies team tonight. For the Heat, they’ll get the day off before going into a three-game road stretch through the west coast. They’ll play the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night.

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