Five Takeaways from Heat’s Preseason Win Vs Rockets

The Miami Heat basically had a copy and pasted version of Monday night, coming out the gates with a fast-pace, good defensive principles, and plenty of scoring. The Jimmy Butler-Kyle Lowry dynamic was seen for the first time, but it was actually the Tyler Herro-Duncan Robinson show.

So, here are five takeaways from the second preseason game…

1: The voice of PJ Tucker: a missing piece on the past Heat roster.

Before looking into the X’s and O’s of this game altogether, something sticks out even more. One thing pops out inside a Miami Heat practice, and it’s that Jimmy Butler isn’t the loudest player on the court at all times. PJ Tucker never stops talking, and not in a bad way. From discussing things with teammates to yelling at referees in an in-house practice scrimmage, he’s constantly invested. We saw that a bit tonight when Rockets coach Stephen Silas caught the ball as it traveled out of bounds, leading to Tucker reacting as if it was a blown call in game 7 of the Finals. And well, Miami’s missed that one thing more than anything.

#2: Oh yeah, this Heat team needed a true point guard.

We can’t talk enough about the acquisition of Kyle Lowry to this roster. Point of attack defense, off-ball abilities, and pure scoring on the ball. But while Miami can use all of that, nothing seems as crucial as that play-making skill that he brings every night. No more Bam Adebayo head swiveling as a passer every play. No more overusing Jimmy Butler through 82 regular season games. They have a quarterback now. Starting the game with a Lowry pass to a trailing Adebayo then following it up with a lob to Butler sums up the acquisition. He plugs Miami’s weaknesses, and it’s only the second game of the preseason.

#3: Duncan Robinson had a fantastic 14 point first half, and it wasn’t close to his full potential.

The off-season improvements from Duncan Robinson have been interesting to keep track of. Seeing him drive the ball to the basket in isolation for a bucket shows that he’s slowly building the secondary options in his bag, yet the primary skill’s consistency still holds the most importance. In the first half, he scored 14 points, knocking down 3 triples, but something else is essential to note: that wasn’t close to his best offensive showing. That box score almost came as a bit of a surprise, since he’s held to such a high standard at this point. But the overarching takeaway is one thing and one thing only: Robinson fits this current roster perfectly, and the longer the season, the more he will shine.


#4: Bam Adebayo seems like he isn’t getting bored on the offensive end again.

One comment from Bam Adebayo on media day summed up last season. He mentioned trying to mix up his offensive game without getting bored in scoring from specific spots. Those areas last season consisted of that elbow jumper and play-making kick-outs/DHO reps. And if you watched the first half of this game, it’s not just about the 15 points in the scoring column as the team leader at the half, but instead the diversity in his shot attempts. Fast-break scoops from Lowry, lob passes on the roll, and surprisingly, some good looks in the low post. While many were worried about him stretching his range out to the three-point line, I’d like to see him utilize his game under the basket a bit more. And that seems to be the case at this stage.

#5: Biggest change from year to year: energy and smiles.

Once again, we’ve talked a lot about the on-court aspect of this new Heat team. But when watching these games on TV, something truly jumps off the screen: the smiles on everybody’s face when playing. I haven’t seen them enjoying basketball this much since the bubble, which makes a ton of sense, since we’re essentially seeing a team play in 3 different seasons in the past 365 days. Combining a true off-season and a change of scenery on the roster seemed to do the trick, and rightfully so. Tyler Herro is a huge proponent of that, since his overall attitude to put in the work is hugely translating to his on-court play with another big performance. And when Herro is playing with all smiles, he is at his best. Just go re-watch his rookie season.


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