The Miami Heat got a much needed win on Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings. Although many players stood out for Miami throughout, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo both getting a triple-double was the biggest storyline of the night. Here are five takeaways from this game…
#1: A Kelly Olynyk first quarter scoring display.
When the Miami Heat hit the 20 point mark in the first quarter, Kelly Olynyk had exactly half of those points, scoring them in a variety of ways. Every few games, as I’ve mentioned in the past, Olynyk ends up on one of these takeaway pieces since he explodes from a recent slump. On night’s that he shines, his three point shooting is usually the reason, but his ability to find mismatches proved to be useful tonight. He has an ability to cut off the ball when a favorable match-up presents itself, allowing him to receive the ball in great position for a layup. The only issue is that those things aren’t utilized on a night to night basis, but when they are like tonight, things click for the team as a whole.
#2: Tyler Herro’s continued unique touch around the rim.
I’ve discussed Tyler Herro in different ways lately due to his evolving play, but his finishing at the rim needs to be mentioned yet again. He had 14 first half points, due to his ability to utilize the backboard on the move, which is not an attribute that is normal for young players. Goran Dragic definitely played a role in that development, since that’s a veteran move that Dragic utilizes when attacking off pick and rolls. His package is still growing as well, especially with minor moves leading to added opportunities when driving. A very impressive first half slight hesitation when driving baseline, led to a nice reverse layup at the rim, and those are types of plays that continue to stand out when evaluating the upside of his offensive game.
#3: Erik Spoelstra figuring out lineups for Andre Iguodala to thrive.
One of the things I mentioned a few weeks ago involving lineups with Andre Iguodala was that it doesn’t seem like a viable option to play him with Butler and Adebayo. It just limits offensive effectiveness due to spacing, which led to Miami’s new rotation. Part of this has something to do with Dragic being out, since Coach Spo is staggering Butler and Adebayo’s minutes, but the Iguodala elements comes into play as well. Most of his minutes lately have come with one of Butler, Adebayo, or Precious Achiuwa, since having three players who can’t stretch the floor as a perimeter threat makes lineups ineffective. If they’re figuring out ways to run these with Dragic out, it’s clear this will continue whenever he returns which will maximize the play of Iguodala moving forward with the bench unit.
#4: Kendrick Nunn finding scoring consistency, while his passing continues to make strides.
Kendrick Nunn has found himself on these takeaway pieces almost every night as of late, and rightfully so due to his consistent offensive play. The only thing that speaks to is that he is overcoming the inconsistent measures that once got labeled to him, but he seems to be very effective throughout the entire game since his insertion into the starting point guard position. But instead of discussing his scoring, or his defensive off-ball presence that I mentioned last night against Stephen Curry, his improving play-making abilities must be touched upon. It is not an overstatement when I say that Nunn’s entire game thrives from confidence, since when shots are dropping, he has much more confidence to throw difficult passes instinctively. Other than a few skip pass mistakes he makes here or there, he can read a half-court offense pretty well, which was displayed tonight once again.
#5: Adebayo and Butler filling stat-sheet with all-around impact, while setting up teammates as scorers.
At times, it’s widely known that Butler and Adebayo could be a bit too passive when their natural scoring talents should be utilized. But when facing a poor defensive team as they did tonight, it’s necessary to attack from all angles. As Luke Walton said before the game, the plan was to stop Butler at all costs from getting to the rim and free throw line by throwing a bunch of bodies at him. And with switching defenders throughout, it led to guys like Kelly Olynyk having easy opportunities match-up wise as described earlier. The point is that these are the games that Miami’s two stars can afford to be unselfish, while filling up the stat-sheet all around tonight led to both Butler and Adebayo getting triple-doubles on the same night.