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Heat get Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo back, but fall 112-108 to Timberwolves

MIAMI – The Miami Heat were closer to whole, and certainly a whole lot more interesting with Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo back in the mix.

But that did not necessarily make it any easier Monday night, particularly with the opposition at Kaseya Center being the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves.

So two nights after Jimmy Butler beat the buzzer for a victory over the Chicago Bulls, the Heat wound up closing their four-game homestand at 2-2 after a 112-108 loss to Anthony Edwards and the Timberwolves.

While Herro returned to score 25 and Adebayo added 22 in his comeback, it wasn’t enough to overcome 32 from Edwards.

The Heat, who led by 17 in the second period, also got 15 points from Jimmy Butler, 14 from Duncan Robinson and 13 from Josh Richardson.

Five Degrees of Heat from Monday night’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 33-22 at the end of the first period and 66-54 at halftime, But the Heat offense then ground to a halt against Minnesota’s league-leading defense, with the Timberwolves within 83-77 going into the fourth.

Then, with Butler on the bench taking his traditional rest at the top of the fourth, the Timberwolves completed their comeback from 17 down to take an 87-84 lead with 8:36 to play after a 12-1 run.

Herro then returned with 6:44 left and the Heat down 90-88, with Butler checking back in with 4:51 and the Heat behind 97-94,  a Robinson 3-pointer in short order tying it 97-97.

Four straight Minnesota points followed.

Later, a Richardson 3-pointer drew the Heat within 103-102 with 2:11 to play and a Herro jumper getting the Heat within 107-106 with 46 seconds to play.

But that’s when Edwards converted a 14-foot jumper with 25.6 seconds to play to make it 109-106, the Timberwolves nursing the lead from there.

2. Opening twist: With Adebayo and Herro back, and with Kyle Lowry given the night off for what the Heat termed soreness, it led to the Heat’s 15th lineup in their 27 games.

It was a lineup seemingly crafted for the matchup, with Kevin Love starting at power forward to counter the Timberwolves’ size of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, and Caleb Martin opening on the wing, as a defender against Anthony Edwards. JButler was the other starter.

That moved Robinson to the bench, after he had started, and thrived, in Herro’s absence.

The approach also had former starring power forward Haywood Highsmith playing off the bench for a second consecutive game after missing five with a back contusion.

The Heat’s reserves, in order, were Jaime Jaquez Jr., Josh Richardson, Robinson and Highsmith,

3. Immediate buckets: Herro was in attack mode from the outset, converting his first four shots, continually lofting floaters over the length of Gobert.

Herro’s initial run also included a pair of assists, as he played as de facto point guard, albeit with Butler lining up in that role at the outset.

Herrowas up to 17 points by intermission, in 15:53 of action. He taped off from there, finishing 10 of 18 from the field, but 1 of 6 on 3-pointers.

4. Bam’s bearings: Adebayo, by contrast, appeared to be impacted by Gobert’s length at the outset, opening 1 of 5 from the field. He came around to stand with seven points in his first seven minutes, before heading to the bench.

What was somewhat off was the timing on lobs, with Jaquez and Robinson winding up with turnovers while attempting to feed Adebayo, who stood with 11 points at halftime.

Rebounding also was an issue with Adebayo, with Love compensating in that aspect. Adebayo finished with six rebounds, Love with 10.

5.Still a factor: The shift to the bench did not take Robinson out of his rhythm, as he not only stepped forward with his 3-pointers but also made himself a factor on the boards and with his passing.

Robinson closed 4 of 8 from beyond the arc, with five rebounds and three assists.

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