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The Miami Heat are on a four-game losing streak after their loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

The team is dealing with injuries to key players such as Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler. Despite their losses, Heat first-round pick Nikola Jovic has earned respect for his performances.

“He’s not afraid of the moment, so he’s comfortable out there,” coach Erik Spoelstra said before the Heat’s game Sunday night. “He’s earning the respect of everybody in the locker room. He’s earning his stripes right now.”

Jovic stepped in to replace Butler at the three and occasionally filled in for Bam Adebayo at center. In his 16.6 minutes per game, Jovic is averaging 6.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists. In his first two games as a starter, he recorded 13 points against the Toronto Raptors and 18 against the Washington Wizards. Spoelstra praised Jovic’s game against the Raptors

“I was encouraged by his play,” Spoelstra said. “It’s not easy to do that, but we felt putting him in with the starters would give him the best chance to be able to complement that group. He was terrific, particularly in the first half. He played with a lot of energy and gave us some relief baskets. His skill level, passing, and all those things are good.”

One of the biggest concerns for Heat fans is their lack of size and absence at power forward since P.J. Tucker left. Hopefully, Jovic’s development can give them some relief on those issues.


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Jayden Armant is a contributor to Inside the Heat. He is a student at Howard University. He can be reached at or follow him on Twitter @jaydenarmant.