The Miami Heat ended their 6 game losing streak with a win over the New York Knicks. It was a tale of two halves for Miami, after Jimmy Butler went into takeover mode in the second half. Anyway, here are five takeaways from this game…
#1: Well, this is Miami’s offense at times.
The reality is that this is Miami’s offense at times. Dissecting different reasons for the offensive struggles game after game have become a constant thing this season, meaning this is who they are. The leading scorer after 12 minutes of basketball from both teams was Tyler Herro with 6 points, which furthers the point about the overall stagnant offensive play. The only difference is that the Knicks went on spark runs by some of their primary players, as well as turning defense into offense. Miami wasn’t as lucky to have those scoring spurts, and it may have nothing to do with luck. There were small flashes of Bam Adebayo takeover, which never really panned out in the first half, which I will dive into next, but it’s clear that a passive Jimmy Butler in games like this always leads to them playing from behind, which turned around in the second half.
#2: Bam Adebayo having his moments, showcasing just an incredibly unique skill.
Now, I mentioned the small positive flashes from Adebayo early on, and although the Heat scored 36 points in the half, it must be touched upon. For starters, he scored 8 points in that stretch on 4 for 5 shooting, which is a major part of this. Efficiency is clearly a great attribute, but not when it’s costing the team points. Andre Iguodala having the same amount of shot attempts in the first half as Adebayo reiterates that point even more. The reason that I wanted to touch on his unique skill, which is widely known, is because he shows glimpses of realization then reverts right back. Pull-up jumpers with a behind the back dribble occurring right before seems like a moment where that Brooklyn Nets-like game takeover is coming, but the following play leads to off-ball screens and kick-outs to Miami’s different wings. Adebayo utilizes guard moves throughout the game, which is the perfect description since it happens pretty effortlessly.
#3: Precious Achiuwa struggles again, turning eyes toward buyout market.
The continued discussion surrounding last minute pick-ups for Miami have included the addition of a back-up big for the Heat. The non-Adebayo minutes have become just as bad as the non-Butler minutes lately, since they don’t have that big man who can keep them afloat. Achiuwa had flashes early in the year, but his offensive limitations and undersized build allow him to get lost rather quickly. Although most of the guys that are currently in the buyout market get labeled as “past their prime,” that attribute may be more helpful for this team than an inexperience rookie. It’s obvious that Miami will make a move in that area pretty soon, but the consistent hole in that spot should speed that process up in the coming days for the Heat’s front office.
#4: The Jimmy Butler takeover.
As I mentioned before the game, as well as halftime, a Jimmy Butler takeover was necessary. When offense is stagnant like it was tonight, it’s important for him to search to attack, but it’s even more clear when all of the signs are pointing in that direction. Butler seemed to be locked in as soon as some back and forth occurred between him and the Knicks, both the players on the court and sideline. When he’s locked in like that, he’s a hard man to stop, since it’s obvious that he is more than capable to score at the basket whenever he chooses. So, he did just that in the third quarter, turning a 36 point first half into a 39 point third quarter. And although the points he scored will be harped on, the intensity and energy that he brought changed the game for Miami.
#5: Duncan Robinson with one of his best all-around performances.
Duncan Robinson hit some nice shots on the outside, which may have sparked him moving forward, but that’s not what I want to discuss. The part that must be mentioned is that this game may be one of Robinson’s best all-around games of the season. For starters, he put the ball on the deck at an exceptional rate, which led to some very impressive passes. When defenses continue to fly out at him, that element will be essential, and adding the dump-off on the move to the cutter takes it to another level. The second part of tonight’s game for him was on the defensive end, which could’ve been one of his better defensive games of his career. Not only some big steals and deflections to get Miami into transition, but he also stayed in front of his guy individually much better than usual. This type of performance is all he needed to get back to normal, so we will see how this progresses.