The Miami Heat drop yet another game tonight, this time to the Denver Nuggets. The Heat were without Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Goran Dragic tonight, which gives you a sense of the way this game went. Miami will be playing tomorrow night as well on a back to back, against a depleted Los Angeles Clippers team, so it’ll be necessary to get a win. Anyway, here are five takeaways…
#1: Well, the issues were apparent tonight, but it starts with shot making.
It’s hard to start in one certain area when diving into Miami’s performance tonight, but the most obvious issue was just plainly shot making. If Miami wanted a chance in this game, while being shorthanded once again, the role players were needed to hit open shots. And well, that didn’t happen. Three point shooting was a huge issue throughout, which is exactly what occurred in the last game against Brooklyn. They shot 19% from three in the first half, which was not that high for a good portion of the half. Thirty-three points in a half is clearly problematic, even without some key players. Some guys inability to step up right now with players out is an eye opener for the long term vision for some player’s roles.
#2: A glimpse of Bam Adebayo and Precious Achiuwa minutes.
The one positive thing from the night is that we got the first glimpse of Bam Adebayo and Precious Achiuwa together. The reason it has been looked upon so much is because it’s the hopeful future of this team, and people want assurance about that plan moving forward. The reason the fit was in question before was because of the offensive spacing that held some question marks. But with Bam Adebayo continuing to expand his range, it makes more and more sense right now. The only reason it was gone to in this game is because of their lackluster play, and Coach Spo wanted a spark. They actually played good defensively for that small stretch, but it’s hard to truly evaluate it in a game where nothing is being generated on either end of the floor.
#3: Duncan Robinson struggles continue.
I don’t think many people are used to Duncan Robinson struggling shooting the ball for three games in a row. And it’s not just about constant doubles or overplaying, since he seems to be getting good looks throughout, he just can’t capitalize. Now, as I’ve discussed before, Jimmy Butler holds major value over the success of Duncan, but I feel it’s much more than lineups. All shooters have slumps, and it begins with the mental toughness to overcome it by continuing to have the confidence to shoot the basketball. He has gotten the ball up quite a lot through this stretch, but nothing is being generated. For a lot of players, getting to the basket or finding other ways to score gets players out of a slump, but sprinting around the perimeter seems to be the only source of offense right now for him.
#4: Andre Iguodala’s on court leadership has been huge, but his surprising offense as well.
Andre Iguodala has been known to do everything for this Miami Heat second unit for some time. Well, except shoot the ball consistently. But that’s actually been a pretty positive element of his game lately, especially tonight. He hit some much needed shots when Miami needed a bucket, which proves his ability to run lineups while Jimmy Butler gets rest in the future. His ability to lock somebody up on defense, while having the quickness to rotate defensively has been huge for this team. With the lack of veteran leadership in the rotation right now, he was very important to take control. Not only is it great to see from him right now, but it’s great to know what Miami has moving closer to the end of the season.
#5: No Jimmy Butler, No Tyler Herro, No Goran Dragic, No excuse. But there’s a necessary realistic element.
The first instinct after watching this game is clearly a bit of panic for many, but things need to be noted without it being labeled as an excuse. For starters, Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro were still out tonight, and Goran Dragic got thrown into that group as well. Every single player combination has been seen over the last few weeks with the constant rotation of players interchanging in and out of the lineup. That opinion and takeaway can be used without being called an excuse, since it’s just the reality of their current situation. Everything that could happen to a team this season, has happened, and even if they’re not play to the standard many are used to, it’s hard to generate anything in a basketball game when you don’t know who is on your team every single night. Miami’s schedule begins to ease up starting now, but will Miami’s health situations begin to ease up? Well, that’s the big question, and nobody has that answer since things are changing every single moment.