The Miami Heat lost in overtime to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday afternoon. It was a roller coaster of a game for Miami, going from constant struggles to great offensive runs to end regulation, then finishing overtime in a disappointing fashion. Anyway, here are five takeaways…
#1: A nightly takeaway: Miami’s shooting continues to be the downfall.
The first takeaway seems to be a copy and paste version on these pieces following every game, mostly since the issues being discussed hasn’t changed. Miami shooting 3 for 18 from beyond the arc in the first half is clearly no change in the offensive issues. Now, it must be noted that there aren’t many offensive adjustments to be made regarding three-point shooting, since the team’s personnel can’t afford to go away from it. They’ve lacked extra attackers in the rotation, which becomes even more apparent when the shots aren’t falling. Although it’s pretty much the entire team that is enduring these struggles, Duncan Robinson hasn’t made it any better, since his story went from lack of attempts early in the season to a lack of makes currently.
#2: Bam Adebayo early aggression kept Miami alive, and brings a bit more clarity.
Bam Adebayo was one of the few bright spots for Miami in the first half, since he not only brought the needed aggression, but also the essential energy. And that’s not just because of a highlight dunk early on, since the jumper was looking consistent as well. The non-Butler minutes are continually harped on for obvious reasons, but the non-Bam minutes looked even worse for Miami today. Now, this clarifies two things. For one, although Adebayo’s high impact play isn’t as clear when others are shooting poorly, it just makes his natural talent to score the ball more apparent. He continued to take advantage of switches when he got the ball in the paint, mostly when Myles Turner was off the floor or out of the play. The second element to this is the clear need for a front-court addition, since adding veteran wings to supply Butler is important, but Adebayo needs some relief guys or sidekicks since Achiuwa has become a non-factor.
#3: Jimmy Butler is Miami’s offense.
Well, here we are again, discussing the Miami Heat’s offense even more. Instead of looking at the exact numbers and reasons for the struggles, it’s important to note the only reason Miami continues to compete with teams considering the offensive trouble. Two words: Jimmy Butler. When you talk about consistent play this season for the Heat, you’d probably start and finish with Butler, since he finds himself with a similar box score every night. And with the lack of three-point shooting, his downhill impact is even more important. He put his head down per usual to flow into his close bank-shot or go-to floater, mostly since the usual drive and kicks are a non-factor in games like this. The way that Butler can keep this team competitive no matter the circumstance should truly not be overlooked.
#4: A longer observation for Heat’s newest addition, Trevor Ariza.
Trevor Ariza got some increased run in today’s game against the Pacers, even becoming the first player off the bench in the second half. He played a major role late in the second half, as well as overtime, which says a lot about him as a player for the trust to already be that high. He hit a nice corner three, a solid drive, and some very positive defensive possessions throughout this game It just furthers my earlier point about that front-court addition, since when Adebayo has a versatile, small-ball four next to him who can shoot and get to the basket, it just creates for a natural flow on both ends. Although it’s unclear this early if Ariza will be that guy to that extent, it’s just a clear hole that he can possibly fill when he gets to his peak abilities at this stage.
#5: The two-way guys: One with a productive day and the other waiting to be utilized.
Gabe Vincent stepped into that back-up point guard role with Goran Dragic out, and he was probably the only guard who gave Miami any type of offense, while also competing on the defensive end. Miami’s 2-2-1 press is utilized religiously when Vincent is on the floor, since the tandem full-court with Andre Iguodala has proved to be highly effective. The other two-way guy, Max Strus, was not a factor in today’s game since he didn’t get any playing time, but it’s still a conversation to be had. Continued shooting struggles when being wide open is one thing, but not experimenting with a pure shooter during those spurts seems a bit interesting. He’s also another one of those guys who compete on the defensive end, which raises some question marks about the decision.