Jaime Jaquez Jr. Leads Heat To Win Over 76ers With Career-High 31 Points On Christmas

Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

Upon discovering that the Miami Heat would play in his hometown of Los Angeles on NBA Christmas Day, rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. was thrilled. This excitement translated into an exceptional performance where he scored 31 points and achieved his first double-double, leading the Heat to a 119-113 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Jaquez’s achievement made the Christmas game even more special for him, as he recalled growing up watching these games and preparing for such moments. His hard work and late nights in the gym paid off, contributing significantly to the Heat’s win.

“Great to get a win, career night, Christmas,” Jaquez said. “I grew up watching these games and to be able to play and have a career night, I just go back to all the hard work, late nights in the gym, preparing for moments like this.”

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Erik Spoelstra, Miami’s coach, marked a unique record with the victory, becoming the only NBA head coach with a 9-0 record on Christmas Day. He acknowledged the significance of playing on this holiday, typically reserved for contending teams.

“It’s an incredible honor, and you don’t ever want to take it for granted,” Spoelstra said. “It really does mean something. You’re viewed as a contending team, typically, if you’re playing on Christmas.”

The 76ers played without Joel Embiid, their reigning MVP and two-time scoring champion, due to an ankle sprain. Tobias Harris led Philadelphia with 27 points, followed by Kelly Oubre Jr.’s 25 points and contributions from Mo Bamba, De’Anthony Melton, and Tyrese Maxey.

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Despite Maxey’s struggle, shooting just 4-20 from the field, 76ers coach Nick Nurse recognized Maxey’s effort and the game’s difficulty.

“They made him work,” Nurse said. “I do think that he got to some pretty good places and just kind of had one of those nights. … Just one of those tough nights for him.”

The Heat, missing key players like Jimmy Butler, Josh Richardson, and Haywood Highsmith, also lost Caleb Martin in the first half due to an ankle sprain. Tyler Herro scored 22 points, Duncan Robinson added 16 for Miami, and Kyle Lowry celebrated his first Christmas win.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Jaime Jaquez Jr, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

The game was tightly contested, with both teams exchanging leads, but Jaquez and Bam Adebayo’s fourth-quarter performances sealed the win for Miami. Jaquez joined a select group of NBA rookies, including legends like Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James, to score impressively in their first Christmas games.

Next up, the 76ers will face the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, while the Heat are set to take on the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

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