The Miami Heat take down the Atlanta Hawks in dramatic fashion. Jimmy Butler closes it out with an acrobatic finish.
Anyway, here are five takeaways from this one…
#1: Max Strus, as a starter once again, comes out scorching.
Max Strus and Duncan Robinson have been linked together for some time as another shooter was rising the charts on this Heat roster, but now it’s an either/or thing. Strus has gotten the start over the last few, and rightfully so. For one, as I’ve mentioned before, Robinson and Tyler Herro have shown to be playable together for longer stints. And secondly, there’s a specific offensive combo that has looked seamless when they share the floor: it begins with Max Strus and ends with Jimmy Butler. Aside from IG comment trolling, there’s something there with those two offensively, and combine that with an unconscious shooter at the moment who seems like he never misses his first shot. It’s something to monitor, but Strus is the reason Miami got out to an early lead.
#2: Miami finding offensive outlets against familiar themes early, but other things stall.
Talking offense in the first half is a bit interesting considering the Atlanta Hawks put up 70 points on the Heat in that span, but some things were noticeable. For starters, the Heat began adjusting to the adjustments. As Miami loves to dish out that 2-3 zone, they received it a ton tonight. They caused some mishaps to begin, but a lineup change got them out of that real quick. PJ Tucker at the five, Jimmy Butler at the four, and planting Butler right in the middle of that zone to dissect. That’s the formula. The issue was that other things were breaking down, and it begins with a good plan, but poor execution. Hunting Trae Young is great, but not when it gets in the way of the offensive game-plan. That’s what happened in that second quarter specifically.
#3: More Tyler Herro blossoming flashes?
Tyler Herro in the first half wasn’t the greatest on paper, since he had a -20 plus-minus, which is hard to read with the total score flip in that first half from starters to bench. But when focusing on the positive side of things, it’s another one of those games where the minor improvements stick out. For one, there were about three straight possessions in that second quarter where he cooked the entire Hawks defense, but the end result shot just ended up missing. The key there was that he can create for himself and others, while most of those plays weren’t even using a screen. Also, he’s bothered Trae Young over this two game stretch. This isn’t saying he is locking him up, but Herro has looked like a much improved defender when getting that match-up: moving his feet, leveraging his body, etc. Something to keep an eye on.
#4: An Omer Yurtseven third quarter push.
As Miami opened up the second half, they were looking for that next offensive push. Could Strus explode again? Would aggressive Lowry make an appearance? Does Butler enter takeover mode? Nope. Instead, they all saw what was being given, and kept feeding Omer Yurtseven in every single crevice. Post play mismatches, easy rolling lob passes, and some mid-range flip shots to round it out. 10 points in the quarter only halfway through was quite the boost to get from a player like that, but it’s great to see him taking advantage of things on that side of the floor. Time is limited with Bam Adebayo set to return on Monday, but that’s not to say opportunities won’t continue to rise. This is a very odd season, but with a fully healthy front-court, Dewayne Dedmon is in front of him in that line.
#5: Mixing up the match-ups.
Tonight was pretty much a defensive mess aside from the first few minutes of the first quarter. But as it went down to the wire in the fourth, we saw Miami picking up on some things defensively. For one, they found the place to set-up Kyle Lowry on that end, which was guarding Danilo Gallinari. The reason that was so important is him being able to play up against bigger perimeter players, since that allows guys like Tucker or Caleb Martin to guard Trae Young. They also made the adjustment that was fully expected to place Tucker at the 5 once again, since the way they were being picked on defensively needed to be shifted. From a more big picture sense, that’s not something we will see much of since Bam Adebayo will close every game, but they will have options.
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