Erik Spoelstra reveals important reason why the Miami Heat traded for Terry Rozier

Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

With 15 seconds on the clock, Jimmy Butler watched from the corner of the court as Terry Rozier took his defender off the dribble and stepped back into a 3-pointer.

The Miami Heat had been up by as many as 11 but the Cleveland Cavaliers stormed back to force another clutch game. The Heat needed the win to come out ahead on their four-game trip.

As Rozier’s shot dropped through the net, all Butler did was watch – because that’s all he had to do. Even on a night when the Miami Heat were missing Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, and when Butler himself scored 30 points, his team didn’t need him to take the final shot.

That’s the beauty of having someone like Rozier, and it’s exactly what the Heat imagined when they traded for him in January.

The Miami Heat were in need of another big-time shot-maker, and they appear to have found one in Terry Rozier.

“We needed another guy that could make plays and create something out of nothing,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “This is why we went after him. We have a bunch of guys that really thrive in those moments. We know that we go to Jimmy a lot for a lot of good reasons. But we wanted, especially while Tyler is out right now, we want to have another guy that’s special, that can create something out of nothing.”

Rozier created something out of nothing twice in the final 90 seconds to put the game away. First, on a step-back 3 on which he got fouled with 1:24 left to tie the game. Then again in that final moment. Rozier’s spurt came after Miami went four minutes without a made field goal.

“We were kind of jammed up on that play. And the step-back going to his right, similarly it was end of the clock,” Spoelstra said. “Those plays are usually reserved for Jimmy. But it was very encouraging for all of us just to have another guy that can make a big play in a pressure moment.”

Rozier finished the night with 24 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter of Miami’s 107-104 win. His step-back jumper is not something Heat fans have seen much of, but they should see more of it as he gets more comfortable with his role in the offense.

“I put a lot of work into that,” Rozier said. “The side-step, I put a lot of work in over the summer. That’s one of my favorite shots. When I’m doing that, I’m in my bag.”

Rozier was a 20-point-per-game scorer in Charlotte before the Heat acquired him in January for Kyle Lowry and a future first-round pick, but it’s taken a while for him to find his footing in Miami.

Rozier averaged 13.9 points on 38.8% shooting through his first 14 games, which included a knee injury that sidelined him for 13 days in February. 

Coaches and teammates kept encouraging Rozier to be himself. Spoelstra pushed him to get up more 3s. 

“He didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes,” Spoelstra said. “But this is why we wanted him here. He’s a great clutch performer, and he’s been that way his entire career.”

Something clicked. Over his last eight games, Rozier is averaging 18.8 points on 44.7% shooting. When it came down to the most important shot of the game, he wasn’t worried about stepping on Butler’s toes. He didn’t even bother looking in his direction. He just stepped back, pulled up and made the shot. Nobody was happier than Butler.

“Terry put on a show, man,” Butler said.