Heat rally falters from 22 down, drops to 2-5 with 119-113 loss to Kings

It’s as if the Sacramento Kings purchased an E-ZPass for the first half of Saturday’s game against the Miami Heat at Golden1 Center.

Not only did the previously winless Kings score 71 points in those 24 minutes, but 36 of them came in the paint.

In the end, it took too many toll on the Heat, who fell to 2-5 with a 119-113 loss at the Golden1 Center at the end of the three-game Western Conference.

While there was much more resistance in the second half, including cutting a 22-point halftime deficit to one in the fourth quarter, it ultimately wasn’t enough,

The Kings’ early power play reached the point where 42-year-old Heat captain Udonis Haslem was called up for the first and third quarter minutes, with Heat big men Dewayne Dedmon (illness) and Omer Yurtseven (ankle) sidelined and center Bam Adebayo in the start of foul trouble.

Tyler Herro led the Heat with a season-high 34 points, with Adebayo scoring 23, Kyle Lowry 15 and Jimmy Butler 13.

Offseason acquisition Kevin Huerter led the Kings with 27 points, while first-round pick Keegan Murray added 22.

While there is now a two-day break to readjust to Eastern Time, there are also two exact challenges that follow these back-to-back losses to the Golden State Warriors and Kings, with the Heat hosting the Warriors on Tuesday night and then facing the Kings on Wednesday night at FTX Arena.

Five degrees of heat from Saturday’s game:

1. Deadline: The Heat trailed 71-49 at halftime, but then moved within seven late in the third period on a Lowry 3-pointer before falling 90-82 in the fourth.

The Heat then survived a four-point Kings possession when Max Struss was called for a flagrant foul on Harrison Barnes to move within 101-100 on a Butler 3-point play with 6:15 to play.

A 3-pointer by Murray followed to give the Kings a four-point lead. But on the ensuing drive, Kings center Damontas Sabonis fouled out with 5:52 to play, closing with 18 points.

Still, the Kings pushed the lead back to eight with 4:12 to play and kept going from there.

The Heat’s best chance from there was what turned out to be Strus’ wayward 3-point attempt with 26 seconds left.

2. Hero from deep: In a game where the Heat failed to meet their preferred quota of 3-point attempts, it stayed early as Hero was off the dribble or the layup.

Herro shot 3-of-3 for 3-pointers in the first half, with the rest of the team 3-of-8 from beyond the arc at this point, which isn’t quite the volume to fuel a team that plays option small ball.

One difference between Herro and the Heat’s other 3-point shooter is that he can create his own 3-point space, as opposed to moving and leaking screens from Strus and Duncan Robinson.

It was Herro’s offense that allowed the Heat to stay within striking distance until his teammates showed up, with the guard making an emphatic dunk in the fourth quarter.

3. Finding Lowry: It’s been an up-and-down start to the season for Lowry, starting out as another blowout game with two points, one assist and no field goals in the first half.

Lowry didn’t score until he made two free throws with 16.7 seconds left in the first half and didn’t make his first basket until he stole a Kings inbound pass for a layup with 8:31 left in the third quarter.

But Lowry then came back in the second half when it was needed, to the tune of 13 points in the fourth quarter.

4. Reversal of Fate: The Kings called what would be the second foul on Sabonis with 6:24 left in the first period. Not only did they win that challenge, but it instead turned into an offensive foul on Adebayo, forcing him to the bench after a 3-for-3 start from the field.

At this point, Adebayo was replaced by . . . Haslem, his first minutes this season beyond garbage time late in Wednesday night’s win in Portland.

5. Problems on the bench: The ongoing problem with the Heat’s second unit is that Herro is no longer on it, and Victor Oladipo is still out for this season due to ongoing soreness.

That left the Heat with a nominal contribution from the bench, with Robinson on the bench for the second half and Nikola Jovic seeing just one minute of action. While the Strus closed with 11 points, it came on 4-of-15 shooting. The rest of the Heat reserves combined for eight points.


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