ATLANTA — Considering he entered 4 of 19 as an NBA player on 3-pointers and considering he had not attempted a 3-pointer to that stage of the game, Jaime Jaquez Jr. hardly found it surprising that he was left open in the corner in a three-point game with 18.4 seconds left in what turned into Wednesday night’s 108-102 Miami Heat road victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I knew I was going to get an opportunity the way they were going to play me, not looking at me as a threat,” Jaquez said.
So with what had been an 11-point Heat lead with 1:55 to play having all but evaporated, the No. 18 pick out of UCLA in last June’s draft let it fly.
“When I got the shot, I just continued to have confidence in my ability to shoot,” Jaquez said, with the Heat next turning their attention to Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, the second stop on this four-game trip. “I’ve worked too hard to not have faith in myself to shoot that shot.”
“I knew I had had that shot earlier, previously,” he said. “I know I passed up a couple. I gave one up to Kyle. I gave one up to Duncan.
“I’m just really just trying to find my rhythm throughout the game. I caught a rhythm, was feeling good. I knew if I had the opportunity to hit the shot.”
He also appreciated having the confidence of coach Erik Spoelstra to be on the court in such a spot.
“I just keep trying to make him trust me more, keep making him proud,” he said. “I try not to mess it up. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”
“I think it’s all just part of the process of being where I am, obviously a rookie,” he said. “You’ve got to take these steps, and I just try to keep moving forward, take steps in the right direction, not take any steps back.”
A game after going for 22 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists against the Lakers, Heat center Bam Adebayo again was in attack mode in Memphis, closing with 30 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots, at 8 of 15 from the field and 14 of 16 from the line.
Including in that effort were 16 of the Heat’s 31 fourth-quarter points, when he shot 10 of 12 from the line.
“We were kind of playing a throwback game there in the fourth quarter and that’s what was needed, play inside-out offensively,” Spoelstra said of Adebayo taking his game into the post.
Earlier, Adebayo had thrived against a Memphis defense ceding the mid-range jumper.
“They’re going to let me shoot, I’m going to take my shot,” he said. “That’s in my wheelhouse.”
A game after Adebayo’s triple-double, Heat point guard Kyle Lowry came up an assist shy in Memphis, closing with 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
“I already got the record for under-six-feet triple-doubles, so I’m fine,” said Lowry, who has 21 career triple-doubles, most recently last November against the Orlando Magic, when he went for 24 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, one of three triple-doubles he has had with the Heat.
With the NBA retroactively removing an Adebayo rebound from his Monday triple-double, Spoelstra quipped at perhaps a re-audit of Lowry’s Wednesday effort.
“Maybe the NBA will give him an assist overnight, give him that triple-double,” Spoelstra said. “But he was assertive. He was aggressive on his catches at the 3-point line, but also his catch and goes, getting into the paint.”