Appearing in just his fifth game this season, Nikola Jovic made the most of the opportunity and played key minutes in the Miami Heat’s convincing win in Golden State Thursday night.
With Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin and Josh Richardson all sidelined, the Heat turned to a group of fringe rotation players in their first game of a challenging five-game trip. Among them was Jovic, Miami’s 2022 first-round pick who has been rarely used in his second season.
Jovic finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block while Miami outscored Golden State by 10 points in his 20 minutes.
It was an efficient night for Jovic, who made four of his five shots in a variety of ways, whether he played off his teammates or made things happen off the dribble.
In his first stint in the second quarter, Jovic made a layup after an offensive rebound and scored after a well-time baseline cut.
In the fourth quarter, he finished through contact off a high pick-and-roll with Duncan Robinson. Later, he scored on a finger-roll layup to put the Heat up 22.
To help protect Jovic defensively, the Heat played a fair amount of zone defense when he was on the court. Jovic also played his minutes at forward, rather than at center, where the Heat have used him at times in the NBA and G League this season.
In addition to Jovic, the Heat got big contributions from Jamal Cain (18 points, six rebounds) and R.J. Hampton (seven points, three assists).