Five Takeaways from Heat’s Loss to Boston
It’s been all rainbows and roses for this Heat team to start the season, but that storm came in real quick tonight against Boston. The Heat’s inability to score or generate space in the half-court led to the Celtics rolling right through Miami for a win.
So, here are some takeaways from this loss…
#1: First half recap: offense, what is that?
30-5. That is the run the Boston Celtics went on in the first half, in one of the worst offensive quarters that I’ve witnessed. Poor passing, horrible spacing, and spammed isolation possessions. For starters, this Boston defense wasn’t giving the Heat anything. They were pressuring Tyler Herro in a way that makes him extremely uncomfortable, but lacking the urge to keep sending up screens basically eliminates him in that space. Secondly, Miami actually did a fantastic job of forcing mismatches. The issue, though, is that they were attacking the wrong ones. Dewayne Dedmon with Marcus Smart on his back and Jimmy Butler with Al Horford on the perimeter. That led to an eventual Butler step-back mid-range that clanked off the rim, which was the definition of their play in this game.
#2: Duncan Robinson slowly shifting his looks.
Duncan Robinson came out firing tonight, but much like the rest of the Heat, it tailed off quickly. An immediate three triples looked like he was fully back to himself, but that jammed offense led to him following that up with 5 misses to close out the half. Aside from the make or miss stuff, something must be mentioned: the ways he’s getting his looks. Looking back to last season when teams were blocking Robinson off on the perimeter, what did Miami do? They gave him a bunch more looks out of the high pick and roll. And well, that’s the formula for him yet again. That gives him more than enough space, it gives him options, and it gives him comfort. His first make of the day came off a high catch, running with the screen, and a quick pull. He really struggled the rest of the night like the rest of this Heat group, but all eyes are still on him just making the wide open ones.
#3: Does Miami always need a “stupidly locked in” Jimmy Butler?
Can Jimmy Butler ever take the night off in terms of coasting through a game? Well even if he could, tonight wouldn’t be the one to do it. Two of the three of Butler, Adebayo, and Lowry must provide *something* offensively, no matter if it’s spacing, passing, or pure scoring. Continuing the theme of the awful offense, none of them were clicking early. So that raises a question when evaluating this game, and it’s can Miami still dominate when Butler has an off night? Butler was actually one of the few guys who could generate points at all by getting to the line a few times, but I think the answer to that question is no. They’re going to need Butler to play at a high level to win these games, and that’s far from a hot take. Yes, Miami’s one loss to Indiana gets characterized as going wrong due to not having Lowry in attendance, but a similar theme is it was Butler’s one rough offensive night of the season. And that isn’t a coincidence.
#4: Some moments of that Kyle Chaos.
Miami showed some life in the third quarter, and when I say life, I mean some tough buckets “in the mud.” Kyle Lowry had a rough night in terms of play-making with all of the turnovers, which was fully due to the Celtics’ activity in the passing lanes all night. Aside from that, some of that “life” was all because of Lowry’s sparking ability. Hitting a three, finding guys wide open under the rim for easy lay-ins, and diving on the floor time and time again for loose balls. When Butler can’t make free throws, Adebayo is out of rhythm, and the role players can’t breakthrough, it was interesting to see that develop from Lowry. But the story of the night with him was when Robinson flew back onto his foot, leading to Lowry hobbling to the locker room. It ended up being an ankle sprain, which just furthers the theme of the night.
#5: Oh, and Rick Ross is dropping an album.
After diving into a ton of the negative aspects of this game, there needs to be some perspective that this team is now 6-2. I don’t want to be the one to break it to you, but this group was not going 81-1. In many ways, a game like this is almost needed to put their weaknesses on blast. Absolutely dominating defensively these past few games while exploding in specific quarters has kind of masked some of their flaws, so now it’ll be an in-house focus. Aside from that, going on and on about this horrific looking game leads me into this final takeaway: Rick Ross announces in FTX arena that he’s releasing his new album on December 10th. The reason I bring this up: well, the only positive thing from the night was him hyping up “Spoestra Nostra” while sitting court-side, so I’m rolling with it.
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