The Miami Heat fell short to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 116-115. This game did not carry much importance for Miami, which is why Miami sat their star players in the second half. Here are 5 takeaways from this game…
#1: Duncan Robinson needs much more than a hand in his face to be stopped.
Duncan Robinson put on another three point shooting display on Wednesday night, which is definitely nothing new. Duncan scored 19 points in the first half with 5 threes. He was such an issue for the Thunder’s defense that Chris Paul began to try and get under Duncan’s skin. It’s hard to disrupt a focused Duncan Robinson, especially when you have a leader like Jimmy Butler on the floor who has your back. This was the first game of the bubble that the opposite team didn’t totally key on Duncan, which is why he flourished tonight. Teams are going to have to continue to blanket Duncan in order to have a chance, and that’s when he will need to display his on-ball skills that he showcased against Phoenix.
#2: Bam Adebayo’s early foul trouble may become problematic.
Bam Adebayo had three quick first quarter fouls to start today’s game, which also occurred a few games against the Milwaukee Bucks. Bam Adebayo talked about what he thinks Spo should do in these circumstances and said if the offense is flowing leave him out, but if not then put him in. And well, this is what happened tonight when Bam got his third foul. The offense was clicking as good as it has all season, which is why they kept him on the bench. This is something to keep an eye on as we approach the playoffs, since Miami can’t risk having Bam out of the game for extended minutes. This is the type of thing that could change a playoff game, but fouls are going to come up with an aggressive defender like Bam.
#3: Goran Dragic still rolling offensively.
Goran Dragic got the start yet again with Kendrick Nunn out, and continued to be lethal. Goran entering the starting lineup seemed to hurt the bench unit a bit last game, since there was no floor general to take control of the offense. But, this problem definitely didn’t occur with the starting lineup. The starting lineup with Goran at the point seems to flow much smoother, due to the offensive connection of Jimmy and Goran. They both have a winning mentality and trust each other with the ball in their hands, which is why Spo has continued to try and play them together. Goran scored 16 points in 20 minutes of play, along with six assists. He’s the type of guy that can do the small things offensively, and consequently win you some playoff games.
#4. Miami’s ball movement seemed smooth throughout.
Miami’s shooting has continued to be lethal from the outside, but it’s because of the play-making set ups. The ball movement in the first half was what put the Heat in such great position. Pick and rolls, fast-breaks, swinging around the key for a three. It was all on display tonight. Goran was at the forefront of this passing display, but even guys like Duncan Robinson were making passes that they usually don’t make. It may be a match-up that they like on defense which forced them to make quick passes. But, it seems as if it’s just an increase in comfortability. This team contains some of the most unselfish players in the league, which is the biggest proponent of solid ball movement. This will be essential in a first round match-up with the Indiana Pacers, who seem to be a bit banged up.
#5: Tyler Herro forming more and more into a fluid scorer.
All of the pure scorers in the league score in the same way. With ease. Tyler was scoring with ease tonight, just as he has been in his last three games, which he scored 30 points on 56% shooting. After entering the league with the expectation of being a catch and shoot guy, he’s doing the exact opposite. He has plenty of star level moves in his bag, and has been showcasing great touch around the rim, especially when using the backboard. He seems to be getting back the confidence that he had in the beginning of the season, which is what this team needs from him in the postseason. There’s not many guys on this roster that you trust more when creating your own shot. Which is why we may see some late game Tyler Herro clutch shots since he will be looked to in these situations, as we saw tonight.