The Miami Heat's West Coast road trip had the makings of a major step back.
At one point, they were 1-3 and had lost three straight. Instead of folding, the Heat simply fought harder. They closed the trip on a three-game winning streak, finishing it with a 108-94 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
They credited the turnaround to constantly being around each other on the road. It was similar to when they excelled last year during the bubble in Orlando on the way to making a surprise run to the NBA Finals.
“We got better,” center Bam Adebayo said. “I feel like it was one of those situations, it felt like the bubble again where we got a chance to be cohesive and feel like brothers again. … When we’re at home, we can’t really hang out with each other. So, being able to be in the hotel and be safe, it feels like the bubble.”
Forward Duncan Robinson led the Heat with 22 points, including six 3-pointers, against the Thunder. Guard Kendrick Nunn continued his strong February by adding 20 points and nine assists. Center Bam Adebayo had 19 points and 13 rebounds and helped the Heat start the fourth quarter with a 15-0 run.
All of it occurred with forward Jimmy Butler on the bench the final 12 minutes. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made sat Butler because everyone else was playing so well.
“It was great, just the enthusiasm,” Spoelstra said. “I think those guys wanted to play well while he was on the bench and see if we could push the lead. Then, when we took that first timeout, I looked at Jimmy, and Jimmy was in the huddle and he said, ’Hey guys, keep going. Let’s give it another two or three minutes and see how it goes.'”
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