The Miami Heat got a win over the Chicago Bulls, but it ended in a much closer fashion than originally expected. What looked to be quite the blowout, turned into a nail biter late, as Miami allowed Chicago to claw back into it in the second half. But at this point in the season, a win is a win, so here are five takeaways from this game….
#1: Duncan Robinson. That’s it. That’s the takeaway.
It’s nothing new when Duncan Robinson is on one of these takeaway pieces, but this game was unlike the past ones. Beginning the game 4 for 4 from beyond the arc, and finishing the half with 6 triples can’t even fully explain the level of shooting that was being displayed. When he shot 2 for 10 from deep on Friday night, many labeled that as a bad game, but in reality, he played a pretty great game overall. Tonight though, he just showcased his primary attribute and deadliest skill, which is clearly the outside shooting. One major difference tonight was the dribble hand-offs were easier to flow into, even though he was being blanketed. That comparison takes us back to last season, since that’s where all of his looks were generated, but it just shows how many things open up when he has that as an option.
#2: Jimmy Butler’s play-making abilities are noticed and discussed, but still somehow underappreciated.
It’s widely known that Jimmy Butler is a crafty passer, but more importantly, a huge play-maker in Miami’s unselfish and motion offense. But when offense is flowing and shots are falling, that ability is magnified greatly, due to doubles on Duncan Robinson leading to open cutters. There are a few elements to this that make it so special. For one, he is such a patient player which is known with his scoring, but he’s such a calm play-maker. He doesn’t watch his teammate, he watches their defender, and that is the pure definition of a good play-maker. A main reason that his passing isn’t discussed enough is due to it being linked in a negative way at times, when people are mentioning him over-passing instead of trying to score. But once again, games like this put that all to the side, especially when he didn’t have a made field goal until a couple minutes into the third.
#3: Gabe Vincent’s immediate description was the wrong one.
Gabe Vincent was a part of the back-up back-court tonight due to Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro being out, but this type of game really shows his actual description. The original label he got with the Heat was a shooter, and it almost felt like that was all he could give them, since that’s all he showed in his short stints last season. The difference with his minutes this season is that shooting is the only element that he hasn’t shown. He’s a very active defender that never stops moving, and really knows how to scrap which is quite the Miami Heat description. Another interesting part about him that wasn’t known was his ability to get downhill at a pretty good rate, which looks to be his biggest strength in his offensive package. He’s been a spot guy with this Heat team this season, and he’s played that role to perfection whenever he’s been inserted.
#4: Trevor Ariza’s deep balls aren’t falling, but everything else is looking as good as ever.
Trevor Ariza went on a pretty unexpected run recently shooting the ball from the oustide, but the thing about 3 and D guys like him or Jae Crowder, is that there will be plenty of ups and downs. The thing about the role on this Heat team is that it truly doesn’t matter, since that element is just an add-on. The real impact is the defensive impact that Ariza has given Miami out on the perimeter, which was really shown early in this game tonight. The amount of deflections he accounts for is outstanding, which just highlights his intangibles of great length and quickness to clog the passing lanes. While this doesn’t seem like a game to give Ariza positive comments when looking at the stat-sheet, he actually deserves it which just furthers the point about Ariza as a player.
#5: The staggering of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo hurting Miami nightly.
Something that has to be done with Miami on a nightly basis is stagger Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, due to their inability to survive when both are off the floor, but it seems to hurt them nightly. When the team needs a boost early in the fourth or late in the third, it always becomes Adebayo looking for a hand-off or back-cut, while Butler looks for a drive and kick opportunity. The only thing is that Miami should be running Butler-Adebayo PnR’s at that point in the game, but just plainly can’t due to rotations. Not to make any excuses, but it’s the Victor Oladipo factor, since his short stretch with the team allowed Miami to run different lineups than the ones they’re forced to run now.