Heat fall short to Bucks as they storm back.
Here are some takeaways from this one…
#1: Hometown Tyler Herro, pull-up killer Tyler Herro.
Some may begin Tyler Herro evaluation tonight by pointing out his hometown return, but you guys already know how I roll with throwing narrative right out the window. The more important aspect is the way he was generating his looks, as he pranced into a 17 point first half. Pointing out that he was facing drop coverage is a great starting point, but it’s a bit different look than he’s used to. This is a crowded drop, which means the attack element of a pick and roll could be taken away. His floater has been surging as of late, but as he started off this game a bit rocky, I pointed one thing out on Twitter: abort that floater. The mid-range pull-up is sitting there for you to take, so it must be utilized. But instead, Herro spaced out into more high PnR sets, flowing right into that pull-up three. Stretching out the floor in that way is the exact read, and I’m not sure if the credit goes to him or the coaching staff yet.
#2: Duncan Robinson finding his set, and finding his rhythm.
Speaking of strong first half performances, Duncan Robinson was soaring from deep to begin this one. 5 for 6 from deep at the half I’d say is a pretty decent stat line for him in a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview. But this wasn’t the same as Herro shifting his shot profile against this specific defense. Instead, it was the exact opposite. Duncan Robinson thrives against a crowded drop coverage, since it basically translates to DHO fun. Only one defender is needed to eliminate with a screen, which means the next step is turning the corner, squaring up, and firing away. Robinson has seen these looks recently, but the simple analysis is that he was able to knock them down in this match-up. Shooting the lights out against this team is always going to be the game-plan, but this version of Robinson changes things dramatically for the offense.
#3: The transition narrative.
I’d like to take a second to address transition offense in a few different lights, which is odd due to the fact Kyle Lowry wasn’t associated with this game. It started when Bam Adebayo couldn’t put the ball in the basket, then all of a sudden, a quick steal, fast-break run, and mid-air switch of the hands for the and-1 finish shed some light on this topic: Bam Adebayo is a different player on the break. It means that he can be instinctive, he can be physical, and it allows him to find a scoring rhythm. Now, some may counter that by saying that avenue can’t be explored as often in a playoff series. And to that I’d say that’s partially true. There seems to be this overarching narrative that playoff basketball is a half-court game, which is true, but it should be noted that transition play and a faster pace can still be explored in that setting. It almost feels like some imagine that to be fully eliminated when that time comes, and it should be said with this specific team especially, it’ll be explored frequently with the young bench unit.
#4: Third quarter analysis: Gabe Vincent’s spark, Jimmy Butler’s struggles.
To hone in on player specifics a bit more, Gabe Vincent had as good of a start as humanly possible in this third quarter. Three straight offensive possessions, three straight Vincent triples. The interesting part about that is it wasn’t because he was being left open off the catch. It was just pure strong side dominance, due to defenders going under screens or PJ Tucker utilizing his hammer screen specialty. On the other side of things for Miami in the third, Jimmy Butler restricted some things. 2 for 13 from the field was where he stood entering the fourth quarter, but it transcends a stat sheet, since it’s actually about the half-court shift for Miami. With his top of the key ball dominance, especially without Lowry, he relies heavily on that help at the nail. That allows him to manipulate the strong side to his advantage as that defender drops. And well, that defender wasn’t dropping tonight. It limits thing, which leads to them looking in the direction of guys like Herro even more often.
#5: Heat fall late due to poor execution.
We’ve seen Erik Spoelstra’s ATO excellence work in the past, but that needs to be addressed in the larger scheme of things. It’s one thing to bring up Miami’s 3 man offense late in games, while Tucker and Vincent land immobile in the corners, but it’s another thing to fall short on an inbound up 1. They tried to go to the usual ATO with two guys in the back-court, but a timeout was forced. The next trial run was to only leave one guy in the back-court, and have three in the front flash. Nothing was there, and he lobbed it up to Butler which led to a jump ball. Late-game execution lost them this game, and well, a poor Jimmy Butler performance.