Jaime Jaquez Jr. was outstanding for the Miami Heat on Christmas Day.

In a 119-113 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the rookie forward scored 31 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and recorded two steals. He scored 10 points in the fourth to help power the Heat past the finish line, and he made 11 of his 15 shots in the game. The performance was both a career day for Jaquez and a historic Christmas debut.

Jaquez’s 31 points were a career-high. His 10 rebounds were a career-high. The double-double was the first of his career.


“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,” Jaquez said after the game.

Jaquez became the first Heat rookie to start a Christmas Day game. His 31 points tied for the seventh most by a rookie on Christmas Day. Only six rookies in NBA history — Wilt Chamberlain (45), Walt Bellamy (35), LeBron James (34), Bill Cartwright (33), Patrick Ewing (32) and Oscar Robertson (32) — scored more in a Christmas game.

Chamberlain, Bellamy, Ewing, and Robertson are the only other rookies in NBA history to have a 30-point, 10-rebound double-double on Christmas Day.

Jaquez scored one more point than Michael Jordan did on his Christmas debut.

“To even be in that conversation is crazy,” Jaquez said. “Really, no words. You said Michael Jordan only had 30 so I don’t know if that means I’m better than Michael Jordan — although I’m wearing his gear right now.”