Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard Thankful For Opportunity To Help Team Again

Shandel Richardson

Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard had a hunch his playing experience would be different after the Friday morning practice.

He could tell by coach Erik Spoelstra's body language an opportunity awaited. Leonard, who had been out of the rotation since the NBA restart in July, played nine minutes in the Heat's 115-100 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Heat lead the best-of-seven series 3-0.

"I had a little bit of an idea after film (Friday) morning," Leonard said. "We obviously go through our game plan and do everything to get prepared and Spo had just mentioned during the meeting, `Everybody's got to be ready, stay ready to play. Meyers, it could be you."'

Leonard returned to the lineup because of an injury to center Kelly Olynyk, who was sidelined with a bruised right knee. It was Leonard's first playing time of the postseason. He had started 49 games before being slowed by an ankle injury that caused him to miss a month before the season was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was incredible to be out there," Leonard said. "This is why NBA players play basketball. This is why we train all offseason. This is why we fight during the regular season. I am truly inspired by this team, to be around guys like (Udonis Haslem), Jimmy (Butler) and Bam (Adebayo), on down the line."

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Comments (2)
No. 1-1

He seemed a bit nervous to be back on the court. That foul that led to a continuation 3 point play was silly, but he gave them some solid play. Next time if he fouls intentionally he will make sure the ball doesn’t go in the hoop.