Friday, December 1, 2023
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NBA Preview: Miami Heat (4-4) at Atlanta Hawks (5-3)

At the outset of a minimum two-week stretch without their leading scorer, the Miami Heat might need to get creative beginning Saturday at the Atlanta Hawks.

Tyler Herro sustained a Grade 2 ankle sprain, sustained when he landed on the foot of Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. during the first quarter of Wednesday’s 108-102 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Without Herro’s 22.9 points per game, where will coach Erik Spoelstra find his offense?

Naturally, Bam Adebayo (22.7 points per game) is top of mind after he followed up a triple-double against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday with a season-high 30 points versus the Grizzlies.

Jimmy Butler (18.4 ppg) is capable of keeping the scoreboard operator busy, while 37-year-old Kyle Lowry stepped up with a season-high 17 points on Wednesday to help Miami notch its third straight win.

Lowry is the elder statesman of the team. And perhaps it’s time for the youngest member of the club to step up when called upon.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. did precisely that Wednesday, finishing with a season-best 11 points to go along with three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench.

Jaquez drained a 3-pointer with 18.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

The Hawks have enjoyed the early portion the schedule, winning five of their last six games.

Trae Young erupted for 33 of his 41 points in the first half to lift Atlanta to a 120-119 victory over the Orlando Magic on Thursday in Mexico City.

Young averaged 19.8 points and 9.8 assists in four games against Miami last season. The Heat won three of those contests, however.

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