The Miami Heat move to 5-1 on the season after cruising to a comfortable 129-100 win over the Houston Rockets at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Jimmy Butler put in a well-rounded performance with 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals, while Duncan Robinson scored a team-high 23 points, knocking down seven three-pointers and Meyers Leonard 21 on 9-of-11 shooting.
The Heat led by as many as 41 points in the second quarter and the Rockets never got closer than 25 points as they dropped their second game in a row.
James Harden led the Rockets with 29 points, going 14-of-14 at the free-throw line, while Russell Westbrook managed just 10 points, six assists and four rebounds on 3-of-11 shooting.
Here are the key takeaways from today's win:
Heat put on a show in first quarter
The Heat dominated the first quarter, outscoring the Rockets 46-14, with the 32-point margin the third-biggest lead after 12 minutes in the shot-clock era and the largest margin the Heat has won a first quarter by in franchise history.
Jimmy Butler led the way with 13 points in the opening quarter on 5-of-6 shooting, while Meyers Leonard, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro attacking the rim during the historic opening quarter.
Miami was aggressive from the jump, scoring 30 of their 46 points in the paint and dominated the glass, outrebounding the Rockets 16-3 in the opening quarter.
They shot a scorching 69.6 percent from the field, while holding the Rockets to 23.8-percent
Is it time to worry about the Rockets' defence?
129, 123, 158.
Those are the numbers the Rockets have given up over the past three games as they continue to struggle on the defensive end this season.
Through six games, the Rockets are yet to hold a team to under 100 points and are currently ranked 29th in the NBA in defensive rating at 116.2, ahead of only the struggling Golden State Warriors.
"We're just not playing as hard as we should be playing, especially on the defensive end...there's no reason for it," coach Mike D'Antoni said after their loss to the Heat.
"We're not in trouble but if we think we're not in trouble..then we're in trouble. You gotta have that appropriate fear and understand that it's a new year, we don't start with games and we've got to work our way back."
The Rockets can't seem to stop teams both inside and out this season, allowing the Heat to connect on 18-of-44 from beyond the arc and score 52 points in the paint. For a team with championship aspirations, D'Antoni has to find a way to get the Rockets' defence back on track if they're going to find success this season.
Heat find help all the way down the rotation
The Heat had six players score in double figures on the night, with Duncan Robinson knocking down seven 3-pointers for his 23 points, while the second unit of James Johnson (17 points), Goran Dragic (15) and Tyler Herro (12) kept the points coming all night.
The Heat bench is currently sixth in the NBA in points per game, averaging 46.7 per game through six games.
Following Kendrick Nunn's hot start to the season, Miami look to have found another diamond in the rough in Robinson, who fit seamlessly into the Heat starting lineup today, the second start of his NBA career.
🖐️➡️👌@D_Bo20 makin' it look easy! pic.twitter.com/yL1sqvQXt8- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 3, 2019
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