The Miami Heat take down the Brooklyn Nets on a game winning jumper from Bam Adebayo. That one shot basically washed away everyone of these takeaways in terms of importance, but take a look at five takeaways from this game….
#1: Early Dewayne Dedmon minutes, effective Dewayne Dedmon minutes.
Something that wasn’t originally expected today was to see an abundance of Dewayne Dedmon throughout, especially immediately when Bam Adebayo exited. For starters, he gave Miami something that they’ve continually missed in a back-up big, which is consistency. Not consistency over a period of games, but consistency in his role. Precious Achiuwa has been a guy that you didn’t know what you were going to get on any given night, but Dedmon’s role was clear as soon as he checked in. A very smart rebounder, meaning he knows how to box out correctly and knows how to use his length to his advantage. The offensive boards was a particular area of strength, giving Miami extra opportunities, but he also showcased an ability to alter shots at the rim, which is quite the attribute for their back-up big spot.
#2: Trevor Ariza giving Miami the same thing every single game.
Not to harp on the adjective consistency too much, but that’s probably Trevor Ariza’s most unexpected attribute this early in his insertion. He is now giving Miami the same thing every game on the offensive end, since the defensive side of the ball was a given from the first game on. He’s shooting the ball very well, filling in the one thing Andre Iguodala minutes have missed at times, trusting the corner three kick-out. He’s also a pretty underrated passer, which is just a proponent of his IQ, which is something Jimmy Butler harped on recently when I asked him about Ariza’s defensive presence. And if the supporting cast elevates back into their usual offensive selves while Ariza keeps this up, it makes them a different team.
#3: Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn stepping up early…..in the game together.
Trevor Ariza wasn’t the only one to score 11 points in the first half, since Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn put up that exact stat-line. Dragic really needed this type of scoring stretch early, so he can get back into his usual trust levels in his jumper, since that’s the element he will have to rely on while age increases by the day. Nunn also looked good early, particularly as a deep threat as well, which is an interesting topic with Nunn. He’s been plugged into a starting point guard role for some time, running PnR’s, pulling up from mid-range, and getting to the basket, but he actually looks most comfortable when he can shoot on spot-ups when others attack. The surprising element with these two as well is that they’re doing it on the floor together, since that duo tandem struggled a lot last season. And due to Erik Spoelstra’s sudden urge to roll out 3 guard lineups, Dragic and Nunn clicking is crucial.
#4: The obvious observation: Miami’s offense clicking, but missing one thing….Jimmy Butler.
Miami’s shooting was off the charts for a good portion of this game, and that’s been something that hasn’t been a strength of theirs to this point. Now, it’s great when it is clicking, but when a dry spell occurs, it becomes a lot of looking around for an attacker that they don’t have, leading to Andre Iguodala pull-ups. It goes unsaid, but that’s where Jimmy Butler comes into play, or better yet, Victor Oladipo. There have been some pieces of reporting that have pointed toward Oladipo returning sometime this season, and when that type of attacking gets inserted into this type of shooting, that elevates Miami to an Eastern Conference threat. But for now, it’s all about awaiting the occasional Dragic drive-by or Herro open layup off of a cut.
#5: Miami doesn’t have that one player takeover, but playing incredible team ball through passing.
When the team is without Butler, it’s pretty clear that they were going to have to play team basketball to compete, or Bam Adebayo fully stepping up like he did against Brooklyn earlier in the season. They went the team ball route, assisting on a good portion of their field goal makes throughout. To that point, the unselfishness of this team automatically means ball flow is fluid throughout, sometimes too much. But that is what basically sustained that type of offense, that usually completely falls off of a cliff as the game progresses. The Heat were in need of a game like this that they can build off of, and most importantly, instill confidence in Butler that this team is capable of battling with the best of them.