Miami Heat

Late slam caps Kings’ comeback as Heat squanders chance to tie Cavaliers

Heat guard Goran Dragic drives to the basket against Kings’ center Willie Cauley-Stein, in the first quarter of the Miami Heat vs Sacramento Kings game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.
Heat guard Goran Dragic drives to the basket against Kings’ center Willie Cauley-Stein, in the first quarter of the Miami Heat vs Sacramento Kings game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. pportal@miamiherald.com

Goran Dragic got into character, growing a mustache inspired by the Heat’s City Edition Vice uniforms.

But even after delivering 23 points on an otherwise subpar shooting night by Miami, Dragic watched Kings’ guard De’Aaron Fox soar past him and slam home a put-back off a missed shot by Bogdan Bogdanovic with 3.3 seconds left that would seal a disappointing 89-88 loss to Sacramento at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Kings (15-33), who were led by Buddy Hield’s 24 points, entered the game tied with the Magic and Hawks for the worst record in the NBA.

“Buddy was hot and we just had a great playmaker in [Bogdanovic] coming off the screen and just tried to make a play,” Fox said. “He shot the ball up and for the most part, as a guard, we get back. There were a few seconds left and I just wanted to crash the glass and I just showed my athleticism.”

Josh Richardson tried to draw contact on a desperation jumper at the buzzer near the foul line, but no foul was called and the shot hit backboard and rim only as time expired.

The Heat (27-21), which led by 12 in the fourth and opened the quarter on an 11-0 run, lost its second game in a row and fourth in its past seven games following a seven-game win streak.

“We've been terrific in the last six weeks in our fourth quarter execution,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You have a couple of games now where it's been erratic. Obviously the turnovers allowed them to get some breathing room to get some confidence to grow closer. We had some opportunities with catches in the paint where we weren't strong enough to be able to finish or draw fouls and then execution on details of screening and getting the ball where it needed to go and then if they defended the first part of it to be able to get to second or third layers. We'll learn from this as painful as it feels tonight, we will get better. Again, we can't take our execution for granted and we'll move on.”

Although it would still have been behind on percentage points, Miami would have tied the Cleveland Cavaliers for third place in the Eastern Conference with the win.

Despite the loss, the Heat remained in fourth place a game ahead of the Wizards and Pacers after Washington lost to Oklahoma City. Indiana was off on Thursday.

The Heat shot 37.8 percent overall (31 of 82) and 12 of 34 from three-point range.

The Kings entered the game with the worst defensive rating in the league (110.1 points per 100 possessions).

Wayne Ellington finished with 20 points and made six threes in 13 attempts.

Hassan Whiteside struggled, scoring only two points until the fourth quarter and finishing with eight as he fouled out with 21.9 seconds left.

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