Five Takeaways from Heat’s Loss to Philly in Game 4

The Miami Heat played a pretty similar ball game in game 4 that they played in game 3, in terms of the outside shooting from the supporting cast.

Jimmy Butler was outstanding in all departments, but simply he was it for Miami through most of this game.

Now, it’s all tied up 2-2 heading back to Miami for game 5. Yeah, definitely a series now.

Here are some takeaways from this one…

#1: The lop-sided three-point shooting display early on.

56% three point shooting compared to 22% shooting? Yeah, that’s a pretty big tell on how a game is going. Yet for Miami, other components kept them in it even with what those numbers would seem to portray. The Heat crunched the rotation down to 8 to begin the night, which went down to 7 as Vincent only played 3 first half minutes due to foul trouble. But among those 7 guys, they couldn’t find that hot hand from the outside. Herro’s getting different treatment, Strus couldn’t find himself beyond the arc, and Lowry was 0 for 4 at that point. While on the other side, 56% shooting is pretty absurd. That’s kind of what happens when you have to focus 2 to 3 defenders on an MVP caliber player at all times. This is a 3 point shooting team that needs that label back, which had all people calling for #55 at the half.

#2: So, what are the 76ers doing different defensively to Miami?

I’ve talked a lot about schemes from Miami over the last 3 games played, but I wanted to take a second to discuss what the 76ers are doing to the Heat, in particular on the perimeter. For one, it should be noted that this is a team that has revolved heavily around overplaying so far this series, which is surprising that we haven’t seen them working more back-cuts. Aside from that, Doc Rivers has noted the one focus on Miami has been Tyler Herro. They wanted to be more physical, while also limiting space for him as much as possible. So, they’re blitzing out on him extremely hard, while rotating middle on that specific shooter. What does that mean? That weak-side corner is the release valve, which means two things: can Herro make that pass and can that shooter take advantage as I noted them shooting 22% from deep in the first half.

#3: Miami’s first half offense kept afloat by Butler’s run, Oladipo’s attack, Bam’s second unit aggression.


While I focused on some of the negative elements early, it’s also important to note that the Heat still stayed above water offensively while struggling that much from deep. The first reason was that Victor Oladipo’s aggression was glaring. He was making it a priority to make his presence felt around the rim, getting to the line at an incredible rate, due to going right at the body of Embiid in that deep drop. Bam Adebayo followed that up with a very strong stretch once Embiid went to the bench. We saw games 1 and 2 flashbacks against Paul Reed, being utilized both on the roll and the post. And finally, as the game was really getting away from Miami late in the second, Butler gave a counter punch. Hitting tough jumpers, getting to the rim, playing physical. That one takeover mode saved Miami in that span. All 3 of these aspects have something in common: inside play. All that was missing, to tie my previous points together, was that one hot shooter.

#4: I’ve touched on Lowry not taking the open pull-up, but this hamstring seems to be very restricting.

When watching Kyle Lowry in this game specifically, he just doesn’t look right. He had 2 breakaway layups where he had to sprint down the floor, and both had him limping back down the floor on defense with his left hand planted on that left hamstring. Clearly, it’s a bothering injury. He continues to struggle to shoot the basketball at the second and third level, but I don’t think this formula is too complicated. This isn’t one of those excuse statements, it’s just the truth. That hamstring is limiting his lift and jumper overall. He continued to play through it, but just something to keep track of moving forward. He can keep it moving in this one, but that thing will most likely tighten up over the next 24 hours. And one thing to note about on-court play: he’s getting to the rim, but not shooting at the rim. Once again, that stuff can be costly.

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#5: You know what, I’m talking about shooting again.

As the 76ers made their 4th quarter run to kick off the quarter, finishing off with a James Harden transition three to take a 12 point lead, you probably did the same thing as I did. Went over to look at the shooting numbers t that point in the game, and they weren’t surprising, but equally as mind blowing. One team was shooting 48% from deep, while the other was shooting 17% from three. Yeah, that’s pretty much the game, right? To go one step further into that 5 of 30 three-point shooting at that point, taking away Butler’s deep ball, they were shooting a whopping 12%. When the percentage drops that much when taking off* Butler’s three-point numbers, that’s usually a tell. It really doesn’t get much deeper than those numbers, but I do believe the looks on both sides were apparently different. Robinson was sitting there for use, but not utilized, which felt like a bit of a head-scratcher for stretches.

 

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