Perhaps coincidence. Perhaps reason for hope. And certainly perspective needed because it is summer league.

But Nikola Jovic’s best performance three games into summer league came Tuesday in the Heat’s first victory of summer league, a 94-70 decision over the Golden State Warriors at the California Classic at Chase Center.

Scoring 25 points, including 5 of 7 on 3-pointers, and adding nine rebounds, the No. 27 pick in last month’s NBA draft, offered a smoother performance on both ends than his first two outings.

“The transition from Europe to here was really tough,” the Serbian big man said, “and today, thanks to my teammates and Coach and everyone who believed in me, my shots went in.

“The first two games were really rough for me. I was just trying to get to know everybody. The game, like I said, it’s different.”

Whether it was a Dirk Nowtizki-like stepback jumper, confidently converted 3-pointers or defensive containment when switched onto smaller guards, the 6-foot-11 19-year-old showed a greater degree of comfort.

Extra shooting on the team’s July 4 day off helped.

“We had a shooting workout [Sunday],” Jovic said, “trying to get my shot on, and I hit some good shots today. I’m just trying to get used to it.”

For Jovic it all is part of a transition away from his backcourt role overseas.

“I never played power forward or center,” he said, “so this is my first time actually. I know I’m not that good at it.”

The Heat also got 12 points and nine rebounds from forward Haywood Highsmith, a member of the Heat’s 15-player standard roster, and 11 points from guard Mychael Mulder, who is on a two-way contract.

Also solid with their play were Heat summer tryout candidates Jamaree Bouyea (13 points) and Kyle Allman Jr. (10 assists).

The Warriors got 13 points from guard Moses Moody, a member of the Warriors’ main roster.

Guard Javonte Smart, who led the Heat in scoring in each of their first two games at the California Classic, was given the day off, with five more summer-league games to follow for the Heat at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League.

The Heat also played without forward Jamal Cain, who was listed in NBA health-and-safety protocols for the second consecutive game.

The Heat opened with a lineup of Jovic, Highsmith, Robinson, Mulder and Allman Jr.

Jovic had played off the bench in the previous game, after he started the summer opener. He opened Tuesday’s scoring with a 3-pointer.

Unlike the first two games on the Warriors’ home court, the game was played in the absence of spectators.

The Heat next play Saturday in Las Vegas at 5:30 p.m. Eastern (NBA TV) against the summer roster of the Boston Celtics.

The Heat’s roster in Las Vegas will be bolstered by center Omer Yurtseven and guard Marcus Garrett, who began last season with the Heat on a two-way contract.


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