The Miami Heat had another short-handed night, adding Bam Adebayo to the fold, but it still wasn’t enough against a healthy Cavs starting group.
They were blitzed on both ends from start to finish, not even in competition to put up a fight.
So they fall to 7-10 with another game tomorrow night. Anyway, here are some takeaways…
#1: The Cavs taking advantage of Miami’s zone defense for a couple reasons…
With the roster Miami had available tonight in Cleveland, it was clear we had a night of 2-3 zone ahead of us. And well, the Cavs found their way against it early on, which should happen when a team stays with it as long as Miami. The Heat are looking to force a certain push shot in the middle of the floor, mostly known for being inefficient, but Evan Mobley was the consistent hub in the middle of the floor. He chopped Miami’s zone up a bit, which leads into the next element. Now that Miami has to clamp down middle, who should they help off? Well the easy answer is Isaac Okoro, right? Okoro ended up going 4 of 5 for 13 points in the first half. Combine those schematics with a ton of ball movement and a bunch of high low action from Mobley and Allen on Miami’s lack of size, and yeah, it’ll lead you to giving up a 59 point first half.
#2: The two sides of Miami’s offensive shot process in the first half.
The Heat came out clicking offensively to begin the game, with Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jovic running the show. The process was clear: Adebayo had the green light. Every set was being ran through him: isolations, post splits, face-ups, post-ups. The key on night’s like this is movement, movement, and more movement. Why do I say that? Well, a good portion of that first half would give you that answer. The Heat fell right back into the trap of having Miami’s guards and wings create, which is a tough ask without Herro or Butler. None of their guards could burst by Cleveland’s point of attack, leading to a pretty ugly shot profile. I’ve compared this to a first drive in football, where a team has that initial drive that is scripted. The Heat are great as a scripted offense beginning halves, but when they stray, they stray away far.
#3: The Nikola Jovic timeline tracker…
As I began to dip into a second ago, we got the Jovic debut next to Adebayo, but it was much briefer than we all expected. While it was executed perfectly in that opening stretch, Haywood Highsmith entered into the game and it felt like Miami completely went away from Jovic again. At the half, on a night where Miami was very short-handed, Jovic was tied for the 6th most minutes on the roster. Yeah, it’s interesting. It feels like there are more positives than negatives with Jovic on the floor in games like this one, yet there doesn’t seem to be the same level of trust that we’re accustomed to with other guys. Same thing in the last game against Washington where they had 7 total players. We will see if it changes, but the Jovic minutes just aren’t equating with the fan-base’s perception of effectiveness right now.
#4: Injured or not at the moment, here’s the team headliner:
This Heat team needs some life
Needs some change
More Nikola Jovic isn’t enough “change” either
Even being without Butler and Herro tonight, this team needs a boost, clearly in the front-court
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) November 21, 2022
No need to further explain. They need more…
#5: Onto…tomorrow night?
These games have felt like Miami’s trying to get to that final buzzer by any means, as Miami’s without many of their primary guys on the roster. As the Cavs ran out a major lead in this game, I said to myself ‘well, it’s time for them to get the main guys out for tomorrow night.’ But they essentially couldn’t since they only had like three guys to sub in for them. Now Miami is less than 24 hours away from another game against Minnesota, where they will be without the same guys on the roster. And even worse, it’s another lengthy front-court with Karl Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, meaning the rebounding numbers will be wild yet again. Miami could possibly find themselves at 7-11 after tomorrow night if they can’t generate some lightning in a bottle, which seems near impossible with what we saw in this one in Cleveland. But well, onto tomorrow night…