The Miami Heat blew a decent lead to the Golden State Warriors to lose in overtime. Steph Curry struggled throughout, but showed up when it mattered to close the game out late. Jimmy Butler’s triple double and Bam Adebayo’s overall impact weren’t enough as well, which led to yet another very embarrassing loss for this Heat team. Anyway, here are five takeaways…
#1: Bam Adebayo utilizing all-around abilities, leading to Miami’s natural flow.
Bam Adebayo’s first half 10 point, 4 assist, and 2 rebound performance doesn’t explain his overall impact. He was needed more than usual against this Golden State Warriors team for an abundance of reasons. For one, Draymond Green being out means a more controllable offense for Miami. Also, Golden State is the number one switching defense in the NBA, which means he would need to take advantage of certain match-ups. Either way, he did just that throughout, controlling the paint area with his scoring at the rim, but more importantly directing traffic more than usual. When Adebayo’s scoring gets going, everything else kicks in at an elite level.
#2: Kendrick Nunn’s shooting and scoring will be harped on, but don’t overlook his defensive presence.
For starters, let’s acknowledge quickly the offensive presence Kendrick Nunn was against Golden State, making an impact from all three levels. The most consistent level was the three point line, which he continues to look more confident with. But instead of diving into that part of his game that we know is there, his defense must be discussed. He’s not looked at as a great defender, but proved capable of making an impact when necessary. He played terrific defense off the ball on the greatest shooter to ever play the game, Steph Curry, holding him to 1 for 9 from beyond the arc in the first half. There’s a pattern with Nunn’s defense, and it begins with his offensive flow. When shots are falling, defense improves for everybody, but even more so for a guy that derives from confidence like K-Nunn.
#3: Tyler Herro making an impact in other areas as well.
Tyler Herro’s offensive package is rounding out lately, since there’s only one surprising issue that has been apparent: Three-Point shooting. He actually has been consistent with his catch and shoot threes, but pull-up triples have not been falling as much. Once that gets fixed up a bit, that can take Miami to the next level if they can have a sense of consistency. But much like Nunn, let’s not look into his scoring too much. Instead, his 7 rebound first half must be discussed at least a little bit. It’s clear that he is a very great rebounder for his size for a multitude of reasons. He has great instincts to crash the boards, which leads to his aggressive ability to grab the ball off the rim with force. We can discuss the evolution of Herro’s scoring package, but his all-around game improving means he’s evolving into a very complete player.
#4: Precious Achiuwa continues to be an energetic spark with his consistent play.
Precious Achiuwa has been discussed lately from a rotational perspective, instead of an actual basketball impact perspective. But once again tonight, he proved what kind of player he is at the moment. He’s a guy that can make an immediate impact as an energetic spark, as he threw down an open dunk as soon as he got subbed in to begin the game. But more importantly, his consistent and polished play must be noticed. He went through a long Covid layoff, as did the rest of the rookies, while bypassing a Summer League. And all that aside, gets a constant role to replicate the things Bam Adebayo does on both ends of the floor. Although that may sound like a lot, it doesn’t seem to be for Achiuwa, which is why the constant conversation about an increased role will continue.
#5: Not enough fight.
Not enough fight. That’s all that can be said about this late game collapse from Miami. Kent Bazemore’s constant disruption on the offensive glass against Miami led to them falling in overtime. They were out battled, out worked, and out willed to finish this game. There were plenty of open three point looks to put the game out of reach, but couldn’t convert at the end of the fourth quarter or overtime. Finishing games is an important attribute in this league, and it’s an attribute that continues to be a weakness for this Miami Heat team. Playing with a lead continues to be problematic for Miami, since beginning to coast, means beginning to become complacent.