LAS VEGAS – The Miami Heat move onto tournament play in the Las Vegas summer league Thursday, but it is unknown if their two best players will be on the court.
Forward Derrick Jones Jr. has not played since spraining his right ankle Sunday and coach Eric Glass said Jones remains day-to-day. But since Jones did not practice Wednesday it is highly unlikely he will play when the Heat face the Pelicans at 4 p.m. at the Cox Pavilion.
“He couldn’t do anything,” Glass said after Wednesday’s practice at The Clark High School in Las Vegas. “We will see how (Thursday) goes. It’s not as bad as we thought it was.”
Bam Adebayo, who had 24 points and nine rebounds in the Heat’s 98-90 victory over Utah on Tuesday, could also sit. Adebayo has played in all but one of the Heat’s six summer league games, missing their second game in Las Vegas.
The Heat’s coaches will decide if they want to shut down Adebayo.
Miami will face the Pelicans for a second time in four games, having lost 110-84 Saturday.
If the Heat defeat New Orleans they advance in tournament play on Saturday. If they lose, their final game of summer league is Friday.
The Heat are 3-3 in summer league games, 2-1 in Sacramento, 1-2 in Las Vegas.
“I looked at it like there’s 29 other teams, we got to play the same team again?” Glass said. “But on the positive side we have some film against these guys. There are things they really hurt us on, a shooter that really hurt us. Let’s correct what we can do. It’s a good challenge.”
Trevon Bluiett, an undrafted rookie out of Xavier, scored 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-10 on threes.
One player who needs more time on the court to get his shot back on track is Derrick Walton Jr., the point guard who spent last season on a Heat two-way contract. Walton has struggled mightily, making just 12-of-49 from the floor (24.5 percent) and 3-of-27 on threes (11.1 percent). He is averaging 7.2 points.
“It’s really hard in this game, especially when you’re a shooter when your shot’s not going to find a way to impact the game,” Glass said. “He’s done that. He’s never put his head down. He’s never turned down an open shot. He’s focused on giving to his teammates and competing on the defensive end of the floor and that’s all you can ask for.”