The Miami Heat are 1 win away from another trip to the NBA Finals.
They now lead 3-0, and man did they capitalize on that in game 3 in strong fashion.
#1: It’s 2020 again! The Adebayo-Robinson connection lives on…
As we saw in game 2 in Boston, the Heat’s adjustment to make Bam Adebayo the primary play-maker at the elbow shifted the game. Duncan Robinson and company kept figuring out the over-plays, and found back door cuts by the hand-full which Bam kept finding them on. Fast forward to game 3, it was elevated. Start things out with that simple back-door cut and feed, but then the layers were added. Hand-off, 2-on-1, Robinson holds for an extra second, and it’s a lob to a soaring Bam Adebayo. Out of the timeout, the set is a Robinson-Bam high PnR, which draws an immediate switch. Robinson feeds it to Bam with Brown on his back, who throws in a nasty spin and slam. Turnover on the other end, Heat run the floor, ball finds Bam in the lane, who swings to the corner for a Duncan 3. All of these play descriptions to say this: that duo is as pure as it gets. And this offense is as pure as it gets when they are equally clicking.
#2: Stop with the “undrafted” label. Now.
Everywhere I look on TV, or certain covergae outlets that we haven’t seen all year analyze this Heat team, has the same exact takeaway when watching this Heat team. Undrafted, undrafted, undrafted. It was a fun story the first year, but come on, it’s legitimately been 4 years. Get over it. Toward the end of the second quarter, the trio of Vincent-Robinson-Martin combined for 31 points on 12 of 16 shooting, so what’s the instant takeaway? You guessed it. It’s time to just point out these are just high level basketball players who keep performing on the largest stage. It’s not just that it’s approaching disrespect for many of these guys, it’s just a lazy, lazy way to analyze any team over years and years. Once again, get over it.
#3: Some adjustments to note…
Just for a section to type out some of the X’s and O’s shifts we saw, let’s start with right out the gates for the Heat. Miami started the game throwing Bam Adebayo at Marcus Smart. Obviously not to shut him down, but to put him in a position to just be the ultimate over-helper. That didn’t last long because Kevin Love’s injury sent Caleb Martin in to throw off match-ups, but still something. The other defensive note was the way they just mixed up the defenders for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Every time down many possessions Martin and Butler would take their turn on 1 of the 2. Doesn’t let them get comfortable. As for Boston, they just mainly sent a lot more help at Butler than in TD Garden. Shading over in mid-post and on his drives can get him out of a rhythm at times, but ultimately he will just keep making the right read. And when the Heat are hitting shots like in that first half…..
#4: One team needed to be absolutely desperate in game 3. And one team was.
The Miami Heat walked right into that Boston Celtics building in games 1 and 2, and completely took care of business in true surprising fashion. Not that they couldn’t do it, but it was the way that they did it. Totally ripping the soul out of that team in two completely different ways. Now heading back down to Miami, the Celtics need to play desperate. Real desperate. And something the Miami Heat just keep doing is playing each and every game like they’re down 3-0. That’s what they did in the first round, second round, TD Garden, and well, now in game 3. The Heat just came out firing from start to finish, which definitely helps, but they scrapped like a team that absolutely needed this win. This team went from a regular season group with zero identity to a playoff group with many identities. And stability, no matter the series lead, has definitely been high up on that list.
#5: My last takeaway: Jimmy Butler controlling a series without even talking basketball.
OMG JIMMY BUTLER JUST HIT THE HORFORD TIMEOUT EMOTE
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) May 22, 2023
Butler’s timeout signal to Horford.
LOVE THAT MAN 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/VM2SQrz7wI
— 𝙃𝙀𝘼𝙏 𝙉𝘼𝙏𝙄𝙊𝙉 (@HeatvsHaters) May 22, 2023