For the majority of Monday night’s game in Milwaukee, the Miami Heat offense looked lethargic once again. Even a surprising scoring eruption in the fourth quarter was too little, too late, as the Heat lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, 122-114, to drop their third straight and fall to 1-3 on the season.
The Heat had dug themselves into too deep a whole early. By halftime, Miami only attempted fifteen 3-point shots and settled for a heavy dose of mid-range jumpers. The only player who was able to find a rhythm and get to his spots was Tyler Herro, who made a steady stream of floaters and was able to draw fouls to get relief points at the line.
Tyler Herro scored 35 points but didn’t get much help from Jimmy Butler, who continues to struggle as the Miami Heat fall to 1-3 to start the season.
Miami’s first-half struggles continued to bleed into the third quarter, and the Heat found themselves facing a 97-73 deficit heading into the fourth. With the deficit up to 25 points, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra decided to run lone starter Herro with the bench unit.
Shockingly, without Jimmy Butler playing a single second in the fourth, the Heat had their best offensive output of any quarter this season, scoring 41 points and cutting Milwaukee’s lead to as low as six.
This is also the first time Miami has outscored an opponent in the fourth quarter, as they won the fourth quarter 41-25. The Heat had been outscored by a total of 25 points in their previous three fourth quarters combined.
Spoelstra down the stretch leaned into a lineup that spread the floor and pushed the tempo, with Herro running and gunning alongside Duncan Robinson, Orlando Robinson, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Nikola Jovic and Josh Richardson, who made his season debut.
The Heat had made just six 3-pointers in the first three quarters but, needing to make up ground late, made seven 3s in the fourth quarter alone. Duncan Robinson contributed three, Jaquez two and Orlando Robinson and Jovic chipped in one apiece.
Unlike the first three quarters, there was no hesitation or anyone holding the ball for too long. Miami played their best shooters, and it paid off in a fashion where they got back into a game they had no business being in.
“No we didn’t get the win, there’s no moral victories in this league, but its good and encouraging to see the fight in our second unit and continue to stick with it and work at our stuff,” Herro, the team’s leading scorer with 35, said after the game.
It was very telling to see Miami’s offense explode without Butler, who returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game at Minnesota for rest. Butler had another quiet outing, finishing with 13 points on 4 for 11 shooting. He has yet to shoot better than 40% in a game this season — uncharacteristic of such an efficient player.
The Heat were also without Bam Adebayo, who was sidelined with a left hip contusion.
With Adebayo out and Butler struggling, the onus was on Herro to carry the offense. He did just that, finishing with 35 points on an efficient 12 of 21 shooting, including going 9 for 10 at the free-throw line. The fourth-quarter lineup featuring Herro and reserves looked more fluid and dynamic than the starters have so far this season.
That trend needs to change for Miami to turn its season around. After three games on the road, the Heat will return to Kaseya Center for a three-game homestand starting with the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.