The Miami Heat played a short-handed Washington Wizards team on Saturday night, and came away with the win. The Miami Heat looked pretty sharp offensively throughout, which clearly won them this game. Here are five takeaways from the game…
#1: Miami comes out on fire offensively, but invisible defensively.
The Miami Heat set a franchise first quarter record tonight, scoring 47 points on 78% shooting. Only issue was that Washington put up 44 points as well in that first quarter. As much as we can discuss Miami’s impressive shooting early, the defense is what truly needs to be keyed in on. The reason for that is because you’re playing a team without their two best players, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. A lack of individual efforts on defense was obvious, since there seemed to be a lack of urgency. That is not surprising, since that is what usually happens when going into a game against a team without their top players. It comes down to intensity on that end of the floor, and they didn’t have it early in this game.
#2: Kelly Olynyk having one of those Kelly Olynyk like games.
In Miami’s impressive first quarter scoring display, Kelly Olynyk was one of the players that truly shined. It is known that Kelly is capable of having those type of shooting games, but it just come down to consistency. Tonight was one of those games though, where he just couldn’t miss from deep. He also used his nightly fake hand-off, which usually ends up with an open layup at the rim. It was especially needed for Kelly Olynyk to have this type of performance tonight, since Bam Adebayo and Precious Achiuwa each had three early fouls. Obviously nothing can be replicated on defense or by rebounding, but the offensive boost was a huge positive for this team.
#3: Goran Dragic getting back to his normal shooting abilities.
Goran Dragic, surprisingly, hasn’t been shooting the ball great to begin the year. Heading into this game, he was shooting 25% from beyond the arc. But he came out in the first quarter going 4 for 4 from three, which i discussed before the game since Washington’s lackluster defense can give those types of guys the rhythm they’ve been looking for. Those 4 triples were his only scores in the first half, and actually his only four attempts, but he used his passing to create for others on offense. The defense began to fly high, which led to him dribbling right by for a kick to the opposite wing or corner for a three. And that right there is the Goran Dragic effect.
#4: Tyler Herro showcases his great touch around the rim.
Tyler Herro was scoring the ball well tonight against the Wizards, mostly by attacking the basket with the ball in his hands. He seems to have great touch around the rim when using the basket, almost Goran-like, and showed his aggressiveness to get to the rim. He also cuts off the ball quite a lot, and against a defense like Washington, he found himself open a few times. And once he begins to get his scoring going, his play-making begins to look better and better. Not only did he score the ball well tonight, but he scored it efficiently, and that’s more important than anything.
#5: Jimmy Butler’s offensive initiative was this Heat team’s staple.
Although many of Miami’s players exploded on offense in that first quarter, nobody scored the ball as consistently as Jimmy Butler did tonight. He clearly could score the ball at will tonight against this poor Washington defense, and chose to do just that throughout the game. He probably could’ve done it a lot more, but that’s just not Jimmy’s game. Well, unless he’s in the finals. I’m pretty sure everybody is aware that Jimmy is more than capable of taking over on offense when needed, but if there was uncertainty, tonight should’ve cleared that up. Once again, there’s not much to takeaway when it’s against a team you’re supposed to beat, but Butler can do exactly that against pretty much anybody.