Five Takeaways from Heat’s Loss to Cavs

Starting another two-game home set, the Heat faced the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

They fell late after making a decent push, but let’s get right into the takeaways…

#1: Against the best paint protection team in the league, the Heat find success in the interior.

Matching up with the best defense in basketball, it should also be mentioned that this team formulated their scheme from the Milwaukee Bucks. Protect the paint, play with length, and force the opposing team into mid-range shots. So what did the Heat do in the opening quarter? Went right at their bigs in the paint. The Heat had 12 made field goals in the first quarter, and 9 of those came in the paint. They were also shooting 75% from the field in that range. Credit to Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler who were converting down there often, but it was also intentional schematically. The Heat drew up 2 early sets to get Love into some high-low actions for a lay-in. Miami usually counters this style with a ton of threes, but with their current roster state, they clearly can’t be relying on that element.

#2: Bam Adebayo in foul trouble means…literal trouble.

To start this game out, Bam Adebayo was guarding Donovan Mitchell on the far sideline who was tight roping it already. Adebayo gave a slight hand-check, leading into a very quick foul, and a pretty pour decision in the bigger picture. Shortly after, Adebayo picked up his second foul, which put Miami in a very awkward position when it comes to the troublesome no-Butler/Bam minutes. The Heat have been trying to get Adebayo back in to begin the second and altering those two guys’ time, yet they couldn’t do that with his two fouls. Instead the Cavs made a run in a long 3 minutes, before he came back in at the 10 minute mark. And there landed another quick foul, putting him at 3. He didn’t play the rest of the quarter, but it just displays the value of Bam, and the need to be smart with his hands.

#3: Jimmy Butler has been thrown his fair share of basketball related allegations, but I’d like to cross one off the list.

We had the “Jimmy Butler being doubled” conversation in the past. We’ve had the “Jimmy Butler against length” conversation even more often, since there have been a few nights where teams schematically place their bigger versatile defender on him to bother. But if I can confidently cross anything off the list, it would be facing length No question he wants smaller match-ups, it’s quite literally what he’s searching for all game, which was actually Max Strus screens to get Darius Garland in the action who kept hedging and recovering. But even with that, he was seeing a whole lot of both Mobley and Allen early on, yet still find ways to get them in the air and get to the line. Plus he had some buckets in the paint off secondary attacks. The point is that this shouldn’t be a benchmark of concern.

#4: The X’s and O’s action of the night…

When it comes to my schematic takeaway of the night, the Heat were getting to a pretty different three-man action in the half-court than we are accustomed to: Gabe Vincent, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love. Early in the game they used Love as the perimeter passing hub, as Vincent positioned himself for the back-screen for Butler. Butler dove, and so did 2 Cavalier defenders. Love swung to Vincent, who drove and dumped it off to Bam for the dunk. We saw this many times throughout the game, flashing once in the third quarter with the exact set-up. Except this time they weren’t prepared to double Butler on the roll, as Love lobbed it to him for the easy conversion. They’re going to need more from Vincent and Love as scoring threats to really make this hub a true success.

#5: The fourth quarter…

As the clock hit the 6 and a half minute mark, a timeout was called, as Heat fans hoped this was finally the stoppage to get their best player Jimmy Butler back into the game. Luckily they kept the deficit at only 7 in that span, since it’s just simply a risky game to play with them losing so many games in that 2 to 3 minutes this season. The offensive spacing was not looking too great for the first few minutes, as the Cavs were basically daring Oladipo to make plays off the catch. Around the 4 minute mark, a Bam elbow touch turned into a contact drive for the and-1. 5 point game. Heat had a good look off a turnover right after, but Herro came up just short on the three. After a timeout, the Heat drew up another elbow touch for Bam, as Butler got fouled off-ball and went to the free throw line. Heat force turnover on other end and run the break for a big time Martin dunk. Garland responds with a bucket and a 3 point lead, as a very odd possession ends in full Oladipo dribbling and a 3 point chuck. Cavs score on other side, and they’re up 5 again. After some trouble inbound in what felt like a game that was over, Heat force a 5 second violation. Miami draws up a nice set to hit Herro cross court, who rises up with full contest. Back at 2 point game. A potential Bam steal on the following inbound was collapsed upon when the ref called a foul, as Jarrett Allen went 1 for 2. Down 3, a pindown for Strus is the set and it’s off the rim. It felt like Herro should’ve been the call, but they got a decent look. Heat lose…

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