The Miami Heat (6-12) fell to the Los Angeles Clippers (14-5) 109-105 on Thursday, despite having fans in the arena for the first time since March.
Shrinking Roster Hurting Miami
The return of Tyler Herro helped the Heat jump to an early 18-point lead, but the absence of seven other players hurt the already-depleted Miami roster. Most notably, Jimmy Butler was ruled out for the 10th consecutive game due to virus health and safety protocols. Avery Bradley, Goran Dragic, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Chris Silva and Andre Iguodala were also all ruled out due to injury.
#LACvsMIA UPDATE: Butler (health and safety protocols), Dragic (groin) and Herro (neck) are all listed as questionable for tonight's 8pm game vs the Clippers.
Leonard (shoulder), Harkless (groin) and Silva (hip) have been ruled out. https://t.co/nLyZdwg9kG
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 28, 2021
Miami got off to a quick start by scoring 33 points in the first quarter. Miami lost its momentum in the second quarter, scoring just 17 points. The Heat only led by two going into the half. The Clippers shut down the Heat in the third quarter by going on a 20-2 run to build a 19-point lead.
There was still hope for Miami to break its losing streak up until the final seconds. The Clippers called a timeout with no timeouts reaming, forcing a technical foul and a turnover. Herro made the free throw and Adebayo made a dunk, bringing the game within reach for Miami.
Down by four with 20.1 seconds remaining, the Heat regained possession. Herro got the ball and put up a three-point shot: missed. Nunn rebounded with 9.6 seconds reaming and went for a three-point shot: missed. Adebayo rebounded with 3.9 seconds reaming and put up a three-point shot: missed. L.A. rebounded, game over.
Herro, returning from a neck injury, led his team with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Gabe Vincent (18) and Max Strus (12) combined for 30 points, and Bam Adebayo recorded 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
Despite the disappointing loss, Herro said he was glad just to be on the court again.
“It Felt Amazing…To Just Get Back Out There With My Teammates,” Herro said during the postgame press conference.
The Heat will host the Sacramento Kings (7-10) Saturday at 8 p.m.