Five Takeaways from Heat’s Loss to Warriors

The Miami Heat played a back and forth game against the defending champs, Golden State Warriors, yet fell short on the second night of a back to back.

They got a very good version of Jimmy Butler, and a below average version of Tyler Herro.

That seesaw just couldn’t do it for them.

So, here are some takeaways from this one…

#1: A pulse check on some new rotation patterns.

With Dewayne Dedmon being ruled out tonight, and essentially out of the rotation for the time being, Nikola Jovic got some more run at the back-up 5 spot. What does that mean for rotations? Well, the first part of that begins with the Heat’s focus to place him next to Jimmy Butler when he is on the floor. As I said last night, they’re trying to lean into the Butler + 4 shooters method. With that said, we saw Butler basically play the entire first quarter, and I’m not sure that’s the long term plan of the regular season. The other change we’ve seen involves Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo. Spo has been trying to mirror their minutes as much as possible, but things have changed in the search for Jovic’s placing. Just something to monitor…

#2: Jimmy Butler showing up at a familiar level.

Over these last two games, Jimmy Butler has looked like…a Jimmy Butler many Heat fans are used to. The way to clarify the version of Butler you are getting begins and ends on the defensive end. If he’s shooting passing lanes at a high level and rotating with a purpose, he’s hitting those strides. And for a better example of that, he had 4 steals in the first quarter alone. Something else that’s intriguing to keep an eye on is the three-point shooting. He shot 3-for-3 from deep to begin the night, mostly since his shot profile out there always looks the same: stand-still triple with a slow wind up since defenses will dip off of him when he isn’t on the ball. But simply, he clearly recognizes this team’s need for energy.

#3: The Heat’s 2-3 zone/2-2-1 press.

When facing an offense as dynamic as the Golden State Warriors, defensive adjustments on the fly are necessary. And well, that just so happens to be Erik Spoelstra’s specialty.We saw a good amount of zone early on, and that wasn’t just to make up for defensive deficiencies, since they were running it with Bam on that low side plenty of the time. They definitely stayed with it for a bit, and the Warriors’ shooters began figuring it out and finding a rhythm, but the point was that they weren’t just staying with the same soft switch game-plan all night long. The other side of things was the 2-2-1 press, which always has my attention. Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin pressuring up top, while the goal isn’t to generate a steal. Of course that would be nice, but it’s to make the offense play against the clock. Variety will be needed on that end this season.

#4: Tyler Herro not finding any rhythm.

In a game that included the Heat’s offense pretty much flowing throughout, Tyler Herro was the one true sore thumb on the floor for the Heat. His shot wasn’t falling from deep, which hasn’t been a great start to the year from that range in general, and that bled into the other parts of his game. Golden State did a good job of keeping him out of the paint, while also hedging hard to initiate that pass on his part. But simply, Miami can’t survive many games against teams like the Warriors when Herro looks like *this.* The main issue with it is that this type of stuff then blends into the defensive end, plus leaves him reluctant with good looks on following possessions. It was just a tough night, as everybody on this Heat roster has had to this point, but pretty obvious to say they need just an average offensive Herro and they would be fine on nights like this.

#5: Max Strus and Gabe Vincent deserve some words.

When talking about “true takeaways,” this would have to be at the top of my list on not only this game, but this season. The previous two-ways Max Strus and Gabe Vincent are obviously playing big roles this season for Miami off the bench, but the bigger point is that they just keep coming up big. Same thing occurred a night ago against Portland, but everybody was playing good against Portland (lol). Yet in this one against Golden State, it’s not as much the amount of shots they’re hitting, but instead when they are hitting them. The Warriors begin to punch them in the mouth a bit, and well there’s Gabe Vincent with a tough left wing step back with his back against the shot clock. Butler can’t get anything going on a possession half-way through the 4th, and there’s Max Strus to shoot over the top as a bail out three. I must say that I was a bit surprised to see Tyler Herro entering for Vincent late in this one to close. Kind of thought Herro’s struggles and Vincent’s play earned him the closing spot for the night. Especially considering the way he was hunted by Steph Curry late.

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