The Miami Heat had quite a rough showing in their final scrimmage game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Miami lost 128-110, which left the team with a negative note heading into the regular season games. Here are my five takeaways from this game…
#1: Defense continues to look problematic.
Miami’s defense has been one of the biggest questions for the Heat heading into the bubble. And well, this still stands. Perimeter defense has been the biggest problem since there’s a lack of defensive guards on this Heat team. Jimmy Butler and Derrick Jones Jr will definitely get a load of opposing team’s back-courts due to the lack of point of attack defense. There was also some trouble with interior defense since there was a physical big on the court in Jonas Valanciunas. But the biggest takeaway is something that Duncan Robinson said after the game, “defensive connection.” This seemed to be the major defensive issue in today’s performance.
#2: Turnovers are Miami’s biggest downfall.
Turnovers are just one of the issues in tonight’s performance, but it’s something we’ve seen in all three scrimmages. Most of these turnovers seem to come from costly and forced passes. This may be due to the fact that guys like Jimmy are trying to get everyone back in rhythm, since he had 5 turnovers in today’s scrimmage. It also may be due to the increased speed in these games in the bubble. These games are much like summer league games, which is a constant display of pushing the ball. More offensive possessions means more turnovers. Either way, this is something the Heat will need to touch up while they get closer and closer to the postseason.
#3: Veterans hold the Heat’s key to success.
There was a lot of discussion before play began in the bubble on whether veterans or young guys would benefit more. Well, these scrimmages have proved that its veterans definitely benefit much more. Many believe this is just an experience thing, but I think it may be due to no fans in the stands. These young guys are so used to feeding off of the crowd. One example would be Tyler Herro. Most of his impressive scoring stretches this year have been at home games, and at times when the crowd is into the game. This just proves that their should never be a time when one of Jimmy Butler, Andre Igyuodala, and Goran Dragic are not on the court.
#4: Spoelstra is still finding lineups with chemistry.
During these three scrimmage games, there’s been certain lineups that just don’t fit well together. Guys like Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk, or Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo, have proved to have natural chemistry and efficiency when on the court together. But, it’s been obvious that Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn don’t have the best of numbers when they share the court. This is definitely something that Coach Spo has kept track of. Also, the zone defense is definitely impressive at times, but should only be used with certain lineups. There’s been many times where they put their defensive wings up top, but leave Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic down low. This lead to many points in the paint, and will continue to be problematic if not utilized correctly.
#5: Jimmy Butler looked smooth on offense.
Although Jimmy Butler only played 22 minutes today, he put on one of his best offensive showings in a while. But the most essential part about it was the efficiency. Efficiency has been in question when talking abut Jimmy Butler, especially since he’s become more of a play-maker than a scorer with the Heat. This may be due to Bam Adebayo returning to the lineup alongside Jimmy, which they played most of their minutes together on the floor today. If Jimmy could keep this up on the offensive side of the ball and the Heat can polish up on defense, they will be a tough out come playoff time.