5 Takeaways from Heat’s Victory Over Boston in Game Two

The Miami Heat trailed early in game two once again, but came back and got the win, 106-101. It happened after they increased their intensity in the second half, led by Bam Adebayo. Here are some takeaways…

#1: Duncan Robinson comes out firing.

If there was anything positive to takeaway from this game, it’d be the hot start of Duncan Robinson. He’s been struggling throughout these playoffs, and needed a game where he could come out the gate getting shots up. I’ve mentioned previously, Boston’s defensive game-plan is not the same as Milwaukee’s or Indiana’s. Although Duncan wasn’t hitting in game one, he was getting a bunch of good looks. Duncan will hold a bit of pressure heading into game three, since Miami’s offense runs so much smoother when he’s scoring. But that pressure is nothing for Duncan, since he’s one of the most confident shooters in today’s league.

#2: Bam Adebayo struggles early, but takes over in third quarter.

Bam Adebayo struggled early, not having the same success that he usually has around the rim. But that turned around late once again, since Bam got busy in the third quarter, absolutely taking over the game. Some of Bam’s early struggle may have had something to do with having to chase Kemba Walker around on defense, while he absolutely had it going. But he seemed to have gotten his usual energy back after halftime, being the vertical spacer that he always is. The team made it a virtue to run the pick and roll and find Bam, while Bam sustained the confidence in himself that everyone else has in him.

#3: The Erik Spoelstra and Brad Stevens match-up was on full effect.

Miami had problems all season defending the perimeter, but tonight they got attacked in the paint. Even Enes Kanter came in getting busy down low, since Miami doesn’t have a true big that can eliminate post defenders. Bam is clearly a terrific defender, but since he had a lot of assignments with Kemba Walker on the perimeter, this allowed them to thrive. This seemed to be an adjustment by Brad Stevens, since Bam isn’t in the paint, that’s what they decided to attack. But Spo’s adjustments in the second half proved his coaching excellence. He implemented more of the zone defense, gave Derrick Jones Jr minutes, and increased the intensity of the team. This win goes to Erik Spoelstra.

#4: Derrick Jones Jr gives another stint of quality minutes.

Kendrick Nunn currently is the 9th man in the rotation, but it seems as if he’s slowly playing himself out of it. Not only does he continue to struggle, but Derrick Jones Jr gave some quality second half minutes on the defensive end. He matches up perfectly with this Boston team, since they’re full of perimeter wings. Not only can he defend guys one on one, but he’s such a disruptor with team defense. This is a big reason they use him at the top of the zone defense, due to his length and quickness. If he can give Miami some quality offensive minutes, he will 100% secure a spot in the rotation.

#5: When Boston’s scorers get going, they’re hard to slow down, but Miami found a way.

Kemba Walker struggled in game one scoring the ball, but their adjustments opened up the floor for him today, which led to his breakout performance. He torched Miami’s defense to start the game, which led to them getting comfortable down low. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum still seemed as confident as ever with the ball in their hands, putting on a display of their unique pull-up games. But once again, Miami utilized their unique way of gaining momentum. They intensified the game through Bam’s activeness, and overcame Boston’s first half scoring display. This team is hungry, and they’re up 2-0.

Bam Blocks

5 Best Blocks in Miami Heat History

The Miami Heat took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night, defeating the Boston Celtics 117-114 in overtime. The headline-making play came from Heat center Bam Adebayo, a first-time All-Star this season and member of the 2019-2020 NBA All-Defense Second Team. Adebayo met Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum at the summit in the closing moments of overtime and blocked the would-be game-tying dunk attempt. It was one of the best blocks in Heat history.

Reactions spanned the gamut on social media. NBA players and celebrates alike fawned in awe. Heat legend Dwyane Wade posted a Dikembe Mutombo gif, his wife, Gabrielle Union, screamed “BAMMMMMMM!!! MONSTER BLOCK!!” Even pop-star Halsey called the Heat “spicyyyyy.”

The NBA legend Magic Johnson came thundering in with his opinion:

 

Magic’s hot take sparked plenty of debate across sports networks and social media. But the question is: Was Bam Adebayo’s Block the Greatest Block in Heat History?

No. 5: DWade Blocks Amar’e Stoudemire

Dwyane Wade is largely considered the greatest shot-blocking guard in NBA history. He’s certainly that for the Miami Heat. And while Wade sports so many highlight reel rejections on his resume, perhaps the greatest of those came 2005.

During a late March contest between the Heat and Phoenix Suns, Wade authored one of his signature plays. In the closing moments of the third quarter, Leandro Barbosa ran a pick-and-roll with Amar’e Stoudemire. Barbosa hit the rolling Amar’e with a pocket pass to the middle of the key and Stoudemire rose up for his two-point attempt.

From the weakside, though, Wade flew in and didn’t so much block Amar’e’s shot but spiked it to the court. He gathered the loose ball, took one dribble, then heaved a 60-foot shot from the opposite three-point line as the quarter buzzer sounded. He drilled the shot and the American Airlines Arena exploded.

Wade comes in at No. 5 here because, despite the spectacular nature of the play, the stakes of the game and moment were not at the level of the next four.

No. 4: LeBron Blocks Tiago Splitter

LeBron James holds arguably the greatest block in NBA history: his chase down of Andre Iguodala during Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. But he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers then, so that play doesn’t count.

For the Heat, James’ most impactful block came during Game 2 of the 2013 NBA Finals. In the fourth quarter, coming off a Game 1 loss, the Heat held a tenuous lead. Off an inbounds play, the Spurs ran a pick-and-roll with Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter. Miami’s aggressive defense backfired when Splitter slipped the screen and Parker found him with a perfect bounce pass.

Splitter thought he had an easy dunk, but James had other ideas. James erased the dunk attempt at its peak. Splitter tried the spike the ball one-handed, but James swallowed the attempt right at the front of the rim. The ensuing fast break led to a corner three from Ray Allen (on a James assist) to give Miami a 89-67 lead en route to the Game 2 victory.

James holds No. 4 here because, while the block itself was spectacular, that game was largely in hand at that point.

No. 3: Zo Blocks Jason Terry

Alonzo Mourning remains the Miami Heat’s all-time leader in blocks. He tallied 1,625 of them in 593 games over 11 seasons. In 82 career playoff games with the Heat, Zo rejected 171 shots.

Perhaps the biggest and most important of those came in Game 6 of the 2006 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. While Zo never led Miami to the championship as a centerpiece of the team, his pivotal defensive stop late in Game 6 helped the Heat hoist the franchise’s first trophy.

The Heat clung to a five-point lead in the fourth quarter in Dallas when the Mavs had a fast break. Jason Terry attacked from the wing and hoisted a runner. Zo came flying down the lane to swat Terry’s attempt into the seats. He tumbled to the court and seemed to be excited about the block. It was later revealed Zo was angry with Gary Payton.

 

Mourning’s effort on the play and in that game (eight points, six rebounds and a game-high five blocks) helped the Miami Heat win their first ever NBA Championship. He gets No. 3 on this list because, even though that was a play Heat fans saw Zo accomplish nearly 2,000 times in his career, the stakes were never higher.

No. 2: Bam Blocks Jayson Tatum

The Heat’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals remains on of the most impressive and unlikely stories in the NBA this season. One of the main reasons for Miami’s ascension up the East ladder has been the play of Bam Adebayo.

Overlooked during the draft, the Heat have modeled Bam into one of the league’s most impactful young players. He’s a prototypical neo-big, with an ability to score, handle and defend across multiple positions. Nowhere was Bam’s defensive acumen on display more than the closing moments of last night’s Game 1.

Down two, the Boston Celtics turned to their 22-year-old All-Star Jayson Tatum in hopes of tying the game. Bam had other plans. Tatum worked past Jimmy Butler and launched himself toward the rim. He cocked back the ball with one-hand as Bam rotated over and elevated to meet him.

Bam erased Tatum’s dunk attempt with his offhand, avoiding any physical contact and potential whistle. The ball remained in play, Bam secured it and was fouled. The Heat secured the Game 1 win on the back of Bam’s defensive brilliance.

No. 1: Bosh Blocks Danny Green

The Big 3 Experiment was on the line in the 2013 NBA Finals. Sure, the Heat had won in 2012, but two Finals losses in three years could have spelled the end for the Wade, James and Chris Bosh triumvirate.

Bosh played a pivotal role down the stretch of Game 6 in 2013. The famous play will always remain Bosh’s rebound and assist to Allen to tie the game near the end of regulation. But in overtime, after the Heat had taken a 3-point lead, the Spurs had a final chance to tie the contest.

With less than two seconds remaining, Tim Duncan found Danny Green racing to the opposite corner. Green had come free after a Splitter screen. Bosh sprinted to the corner and timed his block perfectly. With Green fading off the floor, Bosh met him and spiked the ball down. Spurs cried foul then, and it would most certainly be a foul now, but it wasn’t one in 2013.

It’s the greatest of all Miami Heat blocks because it capped the most unlikely comeback and saved the Big 3 Era in the process.

5 Post-Practice Comments from Spoelstra, Herro, Robinson

The Miami Heat are coming off an absolute game one thriller, but still remain as focused as ever. Erik Spoelstra, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson talked with media today following that game. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra was asked about an overall evaluation of their game one win. He said, “We need to play better.” He also mentioned that Boston was clearly outplaying them throughout, saying “We were getting our asses kicked going into the fourth.” Miami and Boston each had good and bad stretches, Miami owning the second and fourth quarter, while Boston handled the first and third. He thinks they can be better on both sides of the floor which is indeed true. They definitely didn’t have their best game shooting the ball, and defensively there were a couple of small mistakes. Most of those issues on defense occurred with Bam on the bench, since he was flying around the court in both zone and man defense in game one.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Tyler Herro started off his session with media speaking about missing the All-Rookie team by one vote. He said, “I felt I could have been on the first team but am happy with what I got.” It was expected that Tyler would make the second team, since this was a regular season award and he missed some time. Now, if this award carried over to the bubble and playoffs, he’d be the clear top rookie. But ultimately that’s not the case, and although he made that comment, he’s truly focused on much bigger things, as is Bam. Tyler Herro is currently on an unbelievable playoff run in his rookie year, while the other players from the All-Rookie team are watching his games from home. This just truly isn’t a big deal to him.

Post-Practice Comments #3:

Tyler Herro talked about last night’s near triple double stat line. He said, “I didn’t know I was close to a triple-double.” Its continually been talked about that Tyler is improving more and more with his play-making abilities, but most of his attributes aren’t teachable. He has a natural feel for the game, and also a high basketball IQ which rounds out his smooth overall game. Also, the other part of that triple-double with 11 rebounds proved to be essential as well. His elite rebounding abilities for his height is something that isn’t discussed much. Not only does he grab a bunch of rebounds, but he grabs them forcefully. Tyler just does so many things at an A level, which was not expected to be the case by many heading into this season.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Duncan Robinson touched on his shooting in game one, which it definitely wasn’t what it usually was. He said, “Truthfully, I feel like I’m getting good shots. I think I’m taking good shots.” Duncan was getting absolutely blanketed against the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks, but that wasn’t the case in game one against Boston. Most of his shots were open shots, but they just weren’t going in, which is unusual for Duncan Robinson. This definitely isn’t something that should be a concern, since Duncan is one of the deadliest and most confident shooters in the league right now. He should have a huge bounce back game on Thursday.

Post-Practice Comments #5:

While Duncan Robinson was talking with media, Soloman Hill decided to join in and yell “Shoot it.” While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, this is how the entire team feels when referring to Duncan Robinson. They don’t care if he’s missed his last 20 shots, they want him shooting that next one with confidence. This is also because he is one of their main keys to winning, since he’s the start of allowing their offense to run smoothly. And once again, he has not had a back to back bad game all season, which is why he should bounce back in game two, to try and put Miami up 2-0.

Jimmy Butler All-NBA Third Team, Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro All-Rookie Team

Jimmy Butler was named to the All-NBA third team on Wednesday afternoon, while Bam Adebayo did not make it.

Some may raise an eyebrow at Paschal Siakam on the All-NBA second team, but this is a regular season award. He led Toronto to the two seed in the Eastern Conference, which is why Jimmy Butler does not care about these awards. Jimmy is so locked in on the post-season and winning, that he’s more focused on the Larry O’Brien trophy. He would’ve liked Bam Adebayo to probably take his spot on the third team, but ultimately Bam isn’t fazed by that award either.

Especially right now, with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo on an incredible playoff run, they are not taking any time to reflect back on their regular season play. But either way, it’s a great honor to be atop of the league’s best players.

Jimmy Butler has earned this spot with not only his on-court play, but more importantly his leadership. He took the reigns of this Miami Heat team, and received much doubt for “coming to Miami to retire.” And now here he is, in the Eastern Conference Finals, on an All-NBA third team, with the much doubted Miami Heat team. That’s a winner and a leader.

And now to the All-Rookie team results. Kendrick Nunn was named to the All-Rookie first team, while Tyler Herro was named to the All-Rookie Second team.

Tyler Herro talked about his spot with media today, saying “I felt I could have been on the first team.” And that’s just the pure competitor in Tyler Herro. He did miss some time towards the end of the season, and ultimately he’s on to much bigger and better things.

But Kendrick Nunn, on the other hand, deserves this more than anyone. He hasn’t had a traditional route, going from un-drafted all the way to a starter on the Miami Heat. And although many are currently focusing on his postseason struggles, he had an outstanding regular season, which got Miami to their current position. For him to be third in voting behind the number one and number two is truly something to be proud of, since he’s earned it.

This Miami Heat team has been full of guys that are possible award winners, but ultimately, as mentioned before, they’re focused on a championship. Bam doesn’t need a Most Improved Player award to prove himself, since a championship ring will cap off his season just right.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Comeback Win over Boston in Game One

The Miami Heat once again displayed their pure will and grittiness tonight, battling back to win in overtime, 117-114. A corner Jimmy Butler three late in the fourth, led to an overtime finish, which was a Jimmy Butler layup with the foul to give them the lead. Bam Adebayo’s game saving block on Jayson Tatum won Miami the game though. Here are some takeaways…

#1: First half fluctuates, Boston begins and Miami ends.

The Boston Celtics came out to start the game at their absolute best, while Miami played their worst. Marcus Smart was the clear hot hand for Boston, while Jayson Tatum followed close behind. And while it seemed that Boston would blow the doors off, Miami battled back. The score was tied at halftime, which it didn’t seem it was heading that was throughout. This is a clear representation of these two teams. Both Boston and Miami are streaky teams, that go through the highest of highs and lowest of lows. They each had their quarter, but ultimately the second half was the true test, which Boston controlled but Miami rallied back.

#2: Goran Dragic single-handedly brings Miami back.

It seems as if it’s the same story with Goran Dragic every game, an absolute offensive display. When it seemed as if Miami would never get back into an offensive flow, Goran fixed that per usual. He attacked the basket and controlled the mid-range, which is what is needed when trying to get your team out of the mud. He continually shows he’s the offensive engine, since he’s Miami’s most consistent scorer. But he can’t carry the while offensive load for 35 minutes a game. That’s why Jimmy Butler is looked to in the second half usually and down the stretch. It’s up to Jimmy to take control of that, which he did hitting a corner three pointer late in the fourth quarter.

#3: Bam Adebayo once again proves that he does everything on the floor.

It was talked about that Bam Adebayo would need to be the guy for Miami to win this series. But that doesn’t always mean scoring, it means impact. Bam Adebayo was flying across the court tonight, making Boston’s offense choppy. Kemba Walker was held to 2 first half points, which was mostly due to the constant energy of Bam on the pick and rolls. He also was huge for Miami with his play-making abilities, pulling Daniel Theis out of the paint and setting up others. This is something he brings to the table every single game, due to his guard-like play. This is Bam’s series, it’s up to him to bring that constant energy. And obviously the game winning block on Jayson Tatum, which describes Bam Adebayo.

#4: Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler bounce off others.

It was clear that Tyler Herro got into an offensive rhythm once Goran Dragic got going. It was also because Tyler needed a little bit to settle in, and once he does, it’s trouble for Boston. Tyler mostly made himself useful with his ball-handling and passing, with 6 assists in the first half. Tyler’s ability to set up others during tough stretches is key. Jimmy also needed a boost to bounce off others, which is what he usually does in the fourth quarters of games. He’s a player that needs others to play good in order to thrive scoring the ball, but once Jimmy gets going, he’s hard to stop. This is just another evident representation of how Goran impacts others, and it’s needed more than ever right now.

#5: Miami’s scrappiness late on both sides of the ball wins them the game.

Once again it seemed as if the game was over, but with Miami the game is never over. Small plays win you playoff games. That includes the play that could’ve been an open Jae Crowder three, but he makes the high IQ play, assisting to Jimmy Butler for a dunk. Those are Miami Heat type plays. Another play that stands out was a Jimmy Butler kick out to Tyler Herro for an open three. These guys trust one another late in games, which isn’t common. But lastly, a late Jimmy Butler corner three forces overtime, and he finishes them off in overtime with an and 1 layup. But more importantly, a Bam Adebayo game saving block on a Jayson Tatum dunk attempt wins Miami the game.

 

5 Comments from Media Session with Spoelstra, Stevens, Tatum, Walker

Both the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics talked with media today after practice, one day before game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Brad Stevens had positive things to say about this Heat team, and basically denied the rivalry. Here’s what they all had to say today…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra spoke about Miami’s preparation for the Celtics once again today. He said, “You have to find a way to get to the competition and play more consistent basketball than the opponent.” And that right there is the best possible summary of this series. Miami absolutely will need to be the most consistent team, since Boston at times can be streaky on the offensive side of the ball. And Miami does have a bunch of guys that have shown constant consistency, including Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder, and Bam Adebayo. There are advantages in Miami’s favor that they will need to capitalize on, and there’s a good chance they will.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Coach Brad Stevens gave Miami some very positive comments talking with media today. He said, “Probably the closest team in the East that we’ve seen to the Warriors with regard to their cutting and shooting.” And well, Miami has the closest thing to the Splash Brothers right now with Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Stevens doubled down on his comment on Miami’s elite cutting abilities, calling them “one of the best cutting teams in the NBA.” A lot of that has to do with Bam’s ability to take opposing bigs out of the paint and utilize his elite play-making. He finished off saying that they must keep Miami off of the line, saying “easier said than done.”

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Kemba Walker touched on the history of the Boston and Miami rivalry. He said, “I’m just trying to play basketball…It’s going to be war. I’m looking forward to it.” It just truly isn’t the same rivalry as it has been in the past, since these teams have the utmost respect for one another. Kemba was complimentary of the Heat culture as well, saying “They play hard…I know those guys are going to be ready, but so are we. It’s going to be a fight.” It indeed will be a fight, and it might be most essential with who throws the first blow. And a lot of that will fall on the energy of Heat center Bam Adebayo.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Gordon Hayward’s status will become very important in this Heat series, which there was a bit of an update this afternoon. Brad Stevens and Jayson Tatum mentioned that Gordon “looked good,” but he’s not entirely sure of an exact return date. The absence of Hayward gives Miami a much bigger advantage over Boston than they would’ve had. The defensive match-ups for Miami wouldn’t be as favorable, and Miami’s bench would have issues with Marcus Smart coming off the bench. Stevens said that he’s “getting better,” and some say that he should return at some point in the series. But if Miami throws the first punch, it may be too late.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Jayson Tatum reflected back on the series with Toronto a bit, since he thinks there are some issues that can be fixed. He said, “We were a half-a-second from being up 3-0. We know we need to close out games when we can.” And when discussing closing games, there’s a question mark next to who is the go to closer for Boston. Is it Jayson Tatum? Is it Kemba Walker? Either way, Miami knows that the ball will be in Jimmy Butler’s hands on a final possession, which is important this far into the playoffs. And these games will be close down the stretch most likely, since Miami hasn’t been involved in one blowout playoff game yet. This truly will be very essential in this series.

5 Post-Practice Comments from Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic

The Miami Heat are officially playing the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals starting Tuesday, after Boston took down the Toronto Raptors in game seven. Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic spoke about the match-up with the Boston Celtics with media today after practice. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Goran Dragic discussed Miami’s defensive match-ups with the Boston Celtics. He said, “We have a lot of guys who can guard multiple positions and I think we have the right guys who can defend their guys.” This mainly has to do with the amount of two-way wings that are on this current Heat roster, especially since they acquired Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala at the trade deadline. Boston’s biggest strength is the amount of versatile wings as well, but with Gordon Hayward out, it hurts that depth slightly. Goran also mentioned that he thinks they can still improve on the defensive side of the ball, which is something that Bam talked about yesterday.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Goran also touched on the planning for Jayson Tatum, as they did for Giannis Antetokounmpo. He said, “We cannot just throw the whole defense at him and forget about the other guys.” And that’s what they did against Milwaukee, since the Bucks role guys are not as offensively sound as Boston’s roster is. He also said, “They have a lot of guys who feed off of him and he’s proved he’s an all around player. It’s gonna have to be team defense.” And a lot of that is going to start with the defense of Goran. He is someone who struggles on the defensive end, which will allow Kemba Walker to attack and do what he does best. But since Boston runs a lot of stuff through a high pick and roll, it’ll allow Bam to step up on different guards, which is where he thrives. This is what Goran means when mentioning “team defense.”

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Jimmy Butler got asked about the talent on the Celtics roster, and he gave a very Jimmy like answer. He said, “They’ve got some really good players, as do we.” But not only does Miami have talent, they have dogs. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. That’s where Miami gains their advantage. Jimmy also mentioned that “We damn sure have to take it a game at a time.” This is what they’ve done all throughout the playoffs, which has led them to an 8-1 record, but now it’s even more important. Game one will be a clear indication on how Miami must play the rest of the series, but ultimately their going to try and prepare the same way they have all season.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Jimmy Butler also talked about the Eastern Conference Finals from a larger perspective. He said, “We all think that we’re the better team, we all think that we’re supposed to be here.” Many players say this about their own teams, but Jimmy actually means it sincerely. He has the ultimate amount of trust and confidence in himself and his teammates. He also said, “Going into these games, it’s about us. We control our destiny right now.” This is basically what Jae Crowder said yesterday, when he said the only way they can be stopped is from within. Jimmy knows they control their own destiny, and now it’s up to him to step up against Boston.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Jimmy Butler capped off his media session today talking about being underdogs. He said, “That’s a term that everyone else uses. I think we can have a chip on our shoulder…We’re supposed to be here. We’re not underdogs, we’re competitors.” Every player on this team likes to find an edge to give them a mental advantage, but ultimately Jimmy and others hold themselves to a higher standard. They’re “not embracing underdogs,” since they knew they’d be here. And this isn’t the final destination. A finals appearance isn’t the ultimate goal either. Winning an NBA championship is what they are aiming for, and they won’t be satisfied otherwise.

5 Comments from Media Session with Spoelstra, Crowder, Adebayo

The Miami Heat closed out the series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, and are officially in the Eastern Conference Finals. Erik Spoelstra, Jae Crowder, and Bam Adebayo talked with some media today about the chance of a Finals appearance and more. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra talked about the improvements from all of their young guys while in the bubble. He said, “They’ve gotten better every single month…High pressure situations certainly helps their confidence.” When talking about the young guys, a lot is referring to Heat’s rookie Tyler Herro. He also mentioned that a big part of Herro’s improvement have come from the support of their veterans. I’ve mentioned quite a few times in the past that Goran Dragic has been a huge help for Tyler. We continually see more of Goran in Tyler’s game every game he plays.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Jae Crowder spoke about the chances of this Heat team reaching the NBA finals. He said, “Honestly I feel we have a great chance to do it. But it falls on us. We are the only team that can stop us right now.” This is indeed the truth. As I mentioned before, Miami must totally forget about the last two tough performances, and press the reset button. Since if they get into their own heads, that’s the only way they can be beaten. Jae Crowder knows what it takes to win playoff games, which is why he will be key in this next series.

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Bam Adebayo spoke a little about the thing that Heat fans love to hear about. Heat culture. He said, “You can only understand it if you’re in it. So for the people trying to figure it out, you can only figure it out if you’re in it.” The thing about Heat culture is that they’re not formed into that mindset when they arrive. The guys they acquire have had that mentality their whole lives. That’s a big reason Pat Riley puts so much trust in John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, since they hold their players to a high standard as well.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Bam Adebayo was also asked about some of the award voting that he’s been in the conversations of. He said, “I don’t care about Most Improved Player if we win a championship. Because I’ll have a ring.” This answer seemed sort of familiar. When Jimmy Butler was asked about his shooting struggles early in the bubble, he said that they won’t worry about that if he wins a championship. This is another clear indication of that Heat culture. This team shares a mutual mindset, and it’s a winning one.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Bam Adebayo finishes off the session talking about his main focus heading into the next round. He said that it’s mainly about cutting down the turnovers. This will be an absolute key for the series, since you can’t give a talented team like Boston or Toronto easy points. He also mentioned that they have the capability of getting to a whole other level defensively. He said, “I don’t think we’ve played a whole 48 minutes yet.” And now tonight’s the night Miami finds out their match-up, which Bam mentions he will be watching very closely, since he can see “some of their tendencies.”

The Heat’s respect-earning elimination of the Bucks

Won’t make the playoffs? First round exit? No shooters? Jimmy can’t lead a team?

It only took the Miami Heat 9 games to gain the respect and attention of the national media. The Miami Heat are going to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2014 when Lebron, Wade, and Bosh looked to three-peat. Although they were deemed “underdogs” this whole season, those close to the Heat organization and the loyal fan base knew this Heat team had a high ceiling. 

In Game 1, Milwaukee had limited answers to Miami’s versatility, athleticism, and toughness. Jimmy Butler was clearly the best player on the court scoring 14 of his 40 points in the 4th quarter. Veteran point guard Goran Dragic added 27 points on 60% from the field. Bam Adebayo was a monster on the boards, grabbing 17 rebounds and limiting MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to 18 points. Your stars win you games. This was exactly the case in Game 1. 

Game 2 was left to the officiating. Jimmy Butler sealed the game on two free throws after getting fouled on a jump shot as time expired leading to a 116-114 Heat win. This game was pure physicality, 71 foul shots were attempted, including two flagrant fouls and a technical. This was a grind out game and Miami’s versatility was on display with 7 players scoring in double digits. 

Next was the 4th quarter comeback. Miami outscored the Bucks 40-13 in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Miami’s defense was stellar in the closing minutes, forcing the Bucks into a prolonged scoring drought. They shot 0-10 from the three and 6-23 overall in the 4th quarter. Jimmy Butler put the team on his back scoring 17 of his 30 in the 4th. Miami also had great contributions from Bam Adebayo who posted a 20 point double double and Jae (Allen) Crowder who splashed in 5 three pointers. 

Milwaukee rallied without MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 4 after he suffered a right ankle sprain in the 2nd quarter that kept him sidelined the rest of the series. Miami could have taken advantage of this and swept, however, it was obvious they took their foot off the gas. They lost their intensity from the first three games, resulting in their sole loss of the playoffs in overtime. Miami had no struggles scoring the rock, however, their defense slipped. The Bucks shot 49% from the field behind Khris Middleton’s 36 points. This was a nice humbling for Heat fans and a great gut check for Miami. 

Bounce back! The Heat closed out the series against the Giannis-less Bucks. This game was an all-around effort with rookie Tyler Herro shining in their 103-94 win. Miami had 6 players in double digits, a theme that is becoming more and more common for this Heat team. The bench took the reins of this game with stellar performances from Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala, in addition to Herro. 

Miami is not satisfied yet, and the goal is obviously a championship. Miami will play either the Celtics or the Raptors next round. This series proved that Miami is a legit contender for a championship. Between their all stars, sharpshooters, defensive flexibility, bench scoring, and grit, Miami has all the tools needed to compete with the best. 

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Series Ending Game 5 Win

The Miami Heat faced off against the Giannis-less Milwaukee Bucks in game 5, and came away with the win 103-94. This was behind the outstanding play of Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk, surprisingly on both sides of the ball. Here are my five takeaways…

#1: Turnovers early became problematic for Heat’s starting lineup.

Miami’s starting lineup had issues to start the game, since their offense was very choppy. This led to six turnovers to start the game, and three of them coming from Jimmy Butler. Miami has continued to pride themselves in their efficient and smooth ball-movement and passing throughout the season. But this was not the case for Jimmy Butler and company in the first quarter. Luckily, Miami’s second unit stepped up to bring Miami all the way back, which will be discussed further down the line. The Heat will need to take care of these turnover issues, since if you do that against a team like the Boston Celtics, they will indeed make you pay. But ultimately, this is the reason Miami plays their veteran guys so much in these situations, since they can settle Miami down.

#2: Jimmy Butler uncomfortable early, Andre Iguodala steps up as on court leader.

As talked about previously, Jimmy Butler was very careless with the ball in his hands early, which gave him three turnovers out the gate. But, veteran Andre Iguodala came in and took control of Miami’s offense. He’s continually been a guy that has made a major impact on the defensive side of the ball when he enters, but he was clearly more of a floor general tonight. His ability to slow the game down against a Milwaukee team that wants to run the break was fully on display. Another thing that stood out was that he’s able to slow the offense down, with rookie’s Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn on the floor, which is not easy to do.

#3: Miami’s second unit brings the intensity that they needed.

When discussing Miami’s issues to start the game, I mentioned that the second unit stepped up majorly on offense. Well, that’s exactly what happened. For starters, Kendrick Nunn appeared to be in mid-season form with the ball in his hands, attacking the rim with fire in his eyes. Kelly Olynyk played a great game shooting the ball from deep, but actually stood out with his defensive disruption in the paint. Tyler Herro was scoring the ball at will, and displayed more of that outstanding play-making abilities throughout, especially on the break. This is something Duncan Robinson mentioned yesterday, when he said that his passing stands out more than his scoring. And of course, Andre Iguodala. As I described before, Andre’s ability to provide veteran on-court leadership is a major attribute for this team right now. And his ability to disrupt Khris Middleton proved to be important as well. If Miami gets this bench unit every game, they’ll be a tough team to compete with.

#4: Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo seemed scared to score the ball.

It clearly wasn’t the same Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo that we’ve seen throughout this series. And it’s not that they were off, it’s that they aren’t searching to score the ball. Neither player prioritizes their scoring abilities, but when things are getting rough on offense, they need to step up. Jimmy has the ability every play to attack the basket and get a foul or a bucket. Bam, on the other hand, has been given the open mid-range that he’s taken advantage of in prior games. These two guys will need to be more assertive in the next series with the ball in their hands, especially in games that guys like Duncan Robinson are blanketed.

#5: As Miami heads to the Eastern Conference Finals, they need to put these past two games behind them.

The Miami Heat clearly haven’t played to the best of their abilities in the past two games. But although that is true, they must put these two games behind them to be totally focused for Boston or Toronto. I don’t have much doubt that this team of mentally tough players will be totally locked in, but they must press a total reset. For one, their offense should be able to go back to normal, using the roaming Duncan Robinson as they did all season. And obviously Miami’s defensive scheme will change, since both Boston and Toronto spread the floor tremendously. But now, it’s time for Miami to both physically and mentally reset, to get back to their early series play.