At one point, he hit a big 3-pointer, and he said that the Thunder bench was talking trash to him right before he released that shot.
Jamal Cain says before key 3-pointer, entire Thunder bench shouted, “He can’t shoot!”
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) January 11, 2023
Cain is the latest of a slew of undrafted players who have carved out a spot in Miami’s rotation. He played four seasons at Marquette University, then an additional year at Oakland University, and it wasn’t until that last year at Oakland that he started to show some real potential.
After a 7-11 start, the Heat have been showing definite signs of life over the past few weeks. Although they haven’t had an extended winning streak yet, their defense has shown some significant improvement.
Over the past few seasons, they have reached the NBA Finals and come very close to a second appearance there last spring with a stingy defense that has forced opponents to grind it out and attempt to win ugly games.
Another factor in Miami’s improved play of late has been guard Tyler Herro, who had an outstanding month in December. He put up 24.3 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from 3-point range, plus 5.1 assists per contest.
He didn’t play on Tuesday due to an Achilles ailment.
The Heat’s improved production has generated some improved confidence in the mind of head coach Erik Spoelstra, to the point where he told TNT’s Stan Van Gundy that the team doesn’t necessarily need to make a personnel move and that it simply needs to get healthy.
However, Miami will face a stiff challenge in the coming days. It will host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that won the NBA championship just 18 months ago, not once but twice.
Later this month, the team will also host the Boston Celtics, who have the best record in the league and are ranked first in offensive rating.
These contests will be an opportunity for the Heat to make a statement to the basketball world that they’re back.