MIAMI (AP) — The game wasn’t over after 16 minutes.
Forgive Miami and Houston if they felt otherwise.
Duncan Robinson scored 23 points, Meyers Leonard added 21 and the Heat — fueled by one of the biggest first-quarter margins in NBA history — ran out to a 59-18 lead on the way to an easy 129-100 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
“Surprising? Not surprising to me,” Leonard said. “Don’t get it twisted. The Houston Rockets are incredibly talented. But we came in with a game plan and a mindset that we were going to take away what they’re good at, be disciplined and execute. That’s what we did.”
Jimmy Butler scored 18 points and had nine assists for the Heat, and James Johnson scored 17 in his season debut. Miami is 5-1, matching the best six-game start in franchise history.
James Harden scored 29 for Houston, while Russell Westbrook was held to only 10. The Heat had 38 assists to Houston’s 19, and the Rockets were just 14 of 48 from 3-point range.
“We’re not in trouble,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said after his team fell to 3-3. “But if we think we’re not in trouble, then we’re in trouble — if that makes sense. You’ve got to have that appropriate fear and understand that it’s a new year and you don’t start with any games and we’ve got to work our way back.”
It was a record-setting opening quarter for the Heat — resulting in the third-biggest lead after 12 minutes in the NBA’s shot-clock era, starting with the 1954-55 season.
Miami led 46-14 after that first quarter. The only bigger leads after one quarter since the shot clock was put into play came when the Los Angeles Lakers led the Sacramento Kings 40-4 after one quarter on Feb. 4, 1987, and the Baltimore Bullets leading the Kansas City-Omaha Kings 45-12 after one quarter on Dec. 9, 1972.