Orlando Robinson again dominant, as Heat down Blazers 104-78 to close out summer league

For weeks, when the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers were mentioned in the same sentence, that sentence invariably also included the name of Damian Lillard.

Sunday night was the exception.

With the teams meeting in their final game at the NBA2K24 Summer League in Las Vegas, the focus instead was on the youth of each team, not the 33-year-old All-Star guard who has lobbied for a trade from the Blazers to the Heat.

That let the Heat’s neophytes show that while the team chases elite veteran talent, there also is something to be said about the youth in the pipeline.

With 2022-23 rookies Orlando Robinson and Jamal Cain helping lead the way, the Heat pushed past the Blazers 104-78 to close out their summer schedule at 4-3, including 3-2 in Las Vegas.

Robinson closed with 27 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals, with Cain scoring 15.

Robinson said he felt his summer-league mandate to, “show what I’ve been working on this summer.”

The Heat also got 16 points from Dru Smith and 14 from Alondes Williams.

Among those who took in the game were Heat icon Dwyane Wade, who next month will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Udonis Haslem, the 43-year-old Heat captain who retired at the close of this past season.

Five Degrees of Heat from Sunday night’s summer-league game:

1. For starters: The Heat again were without 2023 first-round pick Jaime Jaquez Jr., the No. 18 selection last month who has been out since the second game on the Heat’s summer schedule on July 5 in Sacramento due to a shoulder injury. The Heat also were without 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic, who has returned to Serbia for training with the national team ahead of the World Cup.

In addition, the Heat gave guard Jamaree Bouyea the night off, with Bouyea seemingly already having solidified his two-way contract this summer.

That had the Heat going with a starting lineup of Robinson, Cain, Smith, Williams and Drew Peterson.

2. Blazers light: The Blazers already had shut down two of their summer-league leading men, on Sunday going without 2023 No. 3 pick Scoot Henderson and 2022 No. 7 pick Shaedon Sharpe.

The Blazers, though, did have 2023 draft picks Kris Murray and Rayan Rupert in their starting lineup.

During the Heat’s time at the California Classic, Murray’s brother, Keegan Murray, had a 41-point game against the Heat in a Sacramento Kings victory.

Sunday, Kris Murray, who was drafted at No. 23 out of Iowa, closed with 12 points.

3. Solid finish: After being given Friday off, Robinson returned with yet another solid effort, positioning himself for a spot on the Vegas All-Summer team.

This time there was an early 3-pointer and nine first-quarter points, on 4-of-6 shooting, with 15 points at the intermission.

Robinson, who went undrafted out of Fresno State in 2022, was converted from a two-way contract to a standard deal ahead of summer league.

“I got the dimes,” Robinson said of taking the most pride in Sunday’s assists.

4. Cain, too: Unlike with Robinson, the Heat have taken a more patient approach with Cain, yet to define his roster status after he played on the Heat’s other two-way contract last season.

Amid the uncertainty, Cain, who went undrafted out of Oakland University in 2022, again seized his summer moment Sunday, with nine points in the opening period.

Among the Heat options with Cain are a standard contract, another two-way contract, or allowing him to explore free agency.

5. What’s next: Several members of the summer roster will move on to the Heat’s summer program on the practice court at Kaseya Center.

The Heat now formally are off until the Oct. 3 start of training camp, with a five-game preseason schedule to follow, starting Oct. 10 at Kaseya Center against the Charlotte Hornets.