The Miami Heat played a meaningless game against the Indiana Pacers, and lost 109-92. Miami’s Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, and Bam Adebayo didn’t play, which is why it doesn’t hold much importance. There was also an unfortunate situation that occurred in the third quarter, which was an injury to the Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. Here are five takeaways from this game…
#1: A tough Derrick Jones Jr injury in garbage time hurts the team mentally.
A rough incident occurred in today’s game in the third quarter with Heat’s forward Derrick Jones Jr. He appeared to suffer a neck injury after going around a pick on Goga Bitadze. DJJ laid on the ground for an extend amount of time face-first, and eventually was taken out on a stretcher. Bam Adebayo chased after Derrick and the medical staff in the tunnel soon after. This type of injury in a game that holds no importance definitely weighs on teammates minds heavily. There is hope that Derrick’s injury isn’t as bad as it seems, which definitely impacts this Heat team since he’s been a huge defensive spark throughout the season.
#2: Udonis Haslem caps off regular season with his final start.
It was very fitting for UD to cap off this year’s regular season with a spot in the starting lineup. And with UD, it doesn’t matter the circumstance, he plays hard no matter what. A 40 year old Udonis was taking charges, wrestling for loose balls, and of course stepping up as their on court leader. He had some pretty good stetches including a tough finish at the rim and a three pointer due to a low shot clock. The thing is with Haslem is that he doesn’t need to be on the court to be effective. Some don’t realize the amount of credit he should get for this team’s success, since he’s a great mentor for all of the young guys, especially Bam Adebayo. But, there was absolutely no better way for Mr. 305 to cap off this regular season heading into the playoffs.
#3: Although Heat’s star players are defensive minded, their most essential attribute is on offense.
The Miami Heat definitely struggled on offense in the first half, mostly because they didn’t have a go to guy. Either Goran Dragic or Jimmy Butler will be needed on the floor at all times for this team to be successful. Jimmy and Bam have clearly been labeled as defensive anchors, but games like this prove their offensive importance, especially Jimmy Butler’s. Although people continue to critique his shooting, he does everything else on offense that you’d want your star player to do. Play-make, handle the ball, attack the basket, and of course lead. If Miami has to go extended minutes in the playoffs without Jimmy or Goran on the floor, Tyler Herro will be looked at to take control of the offensive load.
#4: The out of rotation guys played hard, including Soloman Hill and Chris Silva.
Soloman Hill and Chris Silva got some early minutes in today’s game, and both stepped up in a time to showcase their skills. Soloman seemed pretty confident in his ability to attack the rim, which he scored 21 points and went 10-12 from the free throw line. Chris Silva also showcased a bunch of his skill-set, which seems to be led by his motor. He was a bit of a presence in the paint, which he got three blocks and forced a bunch of misses around the rim. Although these two guys probably won’t see many minutes in the post-season, it’s good to see your 12th and 13th men show a bunch of positive signs.
#5: Jimmy’s leadership displayed once again before game.
It’s been pretty clear that Jimmy Butler’s leadership has been huge for this Heat team’s young guys. And well, he continued to show this side of himself in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN. The main part of this interview was his absolute confidence in the ability for this team to win, which he said he thinks they can win it all. He also mentions the Chris Paul incident from the other night, saying “I’m not here to make friends.” It’s clear that Jimmy isn’t here for a vacation. It’s a business trip. He also throws in some comments of the Heat acquiring another star in the near future. He says that he thinks it will happen since the organization is so great with it, and that they have all the key pieces. Jimmy also seemed in good spirits on the sideline during today’s game, which is a great sign for this team heading into the playoffs.