There was so much to like about the Miami Heat’s performance. There was just one problem, it came against the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Despite an inspired performance from the Heat, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Warriors’ multitude of offensive weapons. The talented trio of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson was just too good, leading Golden State to a 120-118 victory over Miami on Sunday at Oracle Arena.
With 51 seconds to play, the Heat went up by three on a Josh Richardson dunk. But the Warriors scored the final five points to earn the victory
Durant (39 points), Curry (25 points) and Thompson (29 points) combined for 93 points.
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And the Warriors needed every bit of it, with the Heat making 18 of its 43 threes in an impressive shooting display.
Josh Richardson finished with a career-high 37 points and shot 8 of 11 from deep.
Justise Winslow was also impressive, ending the night with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Dion Waiters also helped Miami stay in the game, finishing with 24 points. He made six threes.
The Heat started the contest strong, building a 19-point lead with a 26-7 run to open the game. But the Warriors chipped away at the Heat’s lead for most of the first half before dominating the third quarter 36-23 to enter the final period with an eight-point lead.
From there, it turned into a back-and-fourth affair with a wild fourth quarter that included the Heat rallying from a nine-point deficit with 7:02 remaining to take a lead in the final minute.
But it wasn’t enough.
The Heat is now 1-2 on its five-game West Coast trip, with another challenging opponent up next. Miami completes its brutal back-to-back set with a Monday matchup against the Denver Nuggets, which own the Western Conference’s second-best record.
With Sunday’s loss, the Heat dropped to ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Detroit Pistons passed Miami for the East’s eighth and final playoff spot based on a conference record tiebreaker.