A Breakdown of Miami’s Second Half Struggles Vs Detroit

The Miami Heat had a rough night against the Detroit Pistons on both sides of the floor. Although they were without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, some things consistently look problematic.

Here are some video breakdowns referring to the collapse in the second half…

– Defensive Awareness

At the beginning of the third quarter, Bam Adebayo and KZ Okpala continued to wreck havoc on their switches in the pick and roll. On this play, they look to do that again, as Kelly Olynyk slides over to cut off Jerami Grant on the drive. Instead though, that cut off was not needed, since Bam would’ve had the angle regardless. That led to an open corner three for Blake Griffin on the wing. The reason awareness plays a part is because Grant had it going at this point and Griffin had not shot the ball well, so it made sense to cut him off. But when it’s KZ and Bam on the perimeter, it’s necessary to just worry about your guy off the ball.

– Duncan Denial

When I discuss Duncan Robinson’s gravity, this is part of the reason. There is constant denial as he runs around the perimeter, and when he gets the ball, he has zero room to get a shot off. This was great for Detroit to do, especially at this point in the game since the offense was choppy from everyone on the floor. When this begins to happen, it usually allows guys like Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro to benefit, but obviously that wasn’t the case. Goran Dragic usually benefits from these spurts as well, but he did not have it going at all.

– Stagnant Offense Turns Into Forced Offense


As mentioned previously, the offense was clearly stagnant at this point, where Miami couldn’t get into their usual efficient offensive sets. To that point, Goran and Bam run a quick pick and roll, while Dragic forces a lob pass over the top just inside the free throw line, leading to a turnover. Usually when Miami’s turnovers begin to kick in, Goran is the one to settle them down. But that wasn’t the case yesterday, and it was even more necessary with Tyler and Jimmy out. The clear issue has been turnovers, since it leads to easy baskets, and less shot attempts.

– Turnovers to Points

After the careless Goran Dragic lob showed previously, Jerami Grant runs the break. Miami is clearly out of sorts in their transition defense, and it leads to Miami basically giving up on the play at the end of the possession. Bam runs into the picture late, and ends up standing out on the perimeter. And that’s the reason for poor defensive possessions: Standing around. As Bam explained after the game, that’s not Miami Heat defense. Some stuff is obviously schematic, but most of it seems to be about actually take pride on that end of the floor. And Miami hasn’t been doing that.

– Poor Spacing Leads to Poor Shots

Miami’s spacing on these possessions toward the end of the third quarter were non-existent, especially since Bam and Duncan were on the sideline. Andre looks to give Goran a dribble hand-off, but Goran pops out instead while Precious sets a screen. This causes three defenders piled up in one spot on the floor. But the worst part is that it led to an Andre Iguodala three with 13 seconds left on the shot clock. It almost seemed as if Miami gave up on a lot of possessions when things didn’t go their way.

– No Initiative 

Now, the biggest thing that stood out from Miami’s offense last night was the expectation level from many players on the team. They were waiting for somebody to take initiative and create offense, but nobody chose to do so. That resulted in many empty possessions like the Iguodala three showed before. I don’t want to continually harp on the players they were missing, but Jimmy and Tyler help tremendously with taking initiative with the ball in their hands. When nobody takes initiative, over-passing begins to occur, and that leads right back to the turnover issue.

– Poor Defensive Execution

The game was over at this point in the fourth quarter, but these are the type of defensive breakdowns that continued to occur from Miami throughout. KZ Okpala didn’t make a quick enough decision to go out and double team or stay on his man, which meant the passer has the ability to find the open man. Goran slides down to the big, while his man cuts to the basket for an easy bucket. It just doesn’t seem to be one issue on that end of the floor. With some players it’s decision making, while others may need a bit more “heart” as Bam Adebayo said post-game.

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