The Miami Heat had their fair share of ups and downs in today’s game against the Indiana Pacers, but came away with the win 109-100. Consequently, Miami takes a 2-0 lead over Indiana, but instead of flying back home to Miami for game 3, they will be staying in Orlando. Here are five takeaways from this game…
#1: Bam Adebayo’s early foul trouble showcases his importance.
Bam Adebayo got called for two early fouls in the first quarter. He was consequently subbed out of the game, right after the Heat went on a huge offensive run to start the game. This seemed to put a huge halt on Miami’s offense, which is weird since Bam doesn’t seem to be an offensive powerhouse. The thing is that Bam does all of the small things for their offense. Picks, spaces the floor, etc. He had 0 points until mid-way through the third quarter, but made himself useful through his elite play-making skills. This also forced Miami to go small for an extended amount of time, since Derrick Jones Jr subbed in for Bam. These early foul troubles for Bam in the bubble is definitely something to keep your eye on, since you can’t risk not having Bam on the floor in a match-up against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
#2: Heat’s offense seems to revolve solely around the shooting of Duncan Robinson.
Miami’s offense has clearly revolved around Duncan all season, and looks to be even more true in the bubble. This is what caused a huge Heat run to start the game, when Duncan hit three triples in the first two minutes. But once Indiana’s defense picked up on it, the offense became stagnant. Especially since a bunch of Miami’s usual go to scorers struggled early in the game. Duncan ended up hitting a fourth three in the second quarter, which was the start of another Miami run. He ended the game with seven three pointers, which gives Duncan a great amount of confidence after last game’s struggles. This just further proves the amount of pressure Duncan has to elevate this offense. But if anyone is capable of doing it, it’s Duncan Robinson.
#3: Miami’s supporting cast steps up during tough stretches.
As talked about previously, Miami’s usual scorers struggled in the first half of today’s game. But, Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala hit some much needed shots in the first half, to get them out of this drought. Kelly Olynyk had 7 points and 6 rebounds in the first half, while Andre Iguodala did his part on the defensive end. The depth of this Heat team is one of Miami’s biggest advantages, which is why they will need guys like Kelly and Andre to elevate the team when things aren’t going their way. And as Spoelstra said about Kendrick Nunn and Meyers Leonard, these guys will be much needed down the line.
#4: The Heat’s crisp ball movement may have won them this game.
Jimmy Butler said before today’s game that although he scored 28 in game 1, he wants to be better in game 2 with getting the other guys involved. This seemed to be the goal for every player on the team though. Miami played some of the most unselfish basketball that they’ve played all season, which at times seemed a bit excessive. For example, Duncan forced a pass down low though he had an open three, and Jimmy passed out to Herro for a three though he had a wide open layup. The point is that this type of play could win them many tight games, since most teams don’t play this way. Most teams have a go to scorer that they look to in close playoff games. Miami’s primary play-makers, in Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, are going to play this way no matter what, since they continually say this is the way to win.
#5: Goran Dragic is officially the second half killer.
It seemed to be a repeat of game 1 for Goran Dragic. A slow start in the first half, followed by a second half scoring display. It may be because a 34 year old needs some time to get going. Or maybe he saves himself for the second half. Either way, Goran continues to be a huge offensive spark for this team. He’s one of the only players on the team who can consistently create their own shot, and hit it consistently. It also seems as if the hiatus has helped Goran as much as anybody in the bubble. This time off has made Goran much more explosive for playoff time than he would have been normally. Goran finished the game with 20 points, while playing as good as ever.