Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Chicago

The Miami Heat played an anticipated one on Monday night against the Chicago Bulls, and well, they came out to play.

Gabe Vincent came out firing, the team’s defense was absolutely elite, and they had production 1 through 10.

So, here are some takeaways from this one…

#1: The nightly takeaway of Bam Adebayo defensive dominance.

Another half-time evaluation of Bam Adebayo, another mesmerizing exercise. We know how good he is on the defensive end, specifically when watching a highlight reel of him locking up your favorite player on the perimeter, but it transcends that stuff. We see plenty of great perimeter defenders, and plenty of in-action defenders. Bam Adebayo, ladies and gentleman, is both. When looking at the latter, a play from the second quarter sums it up well. Coby White and Nikola Vucevic running a pick and roll, means Adebayo ends up on White. After blanketing him on the attack, White makes the correct read to lob it up to Vucevic. What happens next? Adebayo turns around fully, goes up in the air, and gets the block. It sounds simple when explaining it in these terms, but in real speed, it’s just simply not normal. But it’s just another night for Adebayo on that end of the floor.

#2: Gabe Vincent-Caleb Martin stepping up in their own ways.

Gabe Vincent had to step right up into the starting role with Kyle Lowry out due to personal reasons, and man did he come out firing. 14 points at the half, but it’s more about how he’s getting those points. We know about strong attacks or off the catch threes, but the mid-range play from him has been something to keep an eye on. Running down the lane, stopping on a dime, and flowing into a tough turnaround J. The reason I bring up Caleb Martin as well is because they come as a package deal. Literally. Defensively, these guys essentially *are* the 2-3 zone, since it’s always gone to with them headlining it at the top. Guys like DeMar DeRozan can shoot over the top of that, but do you know what he can’t shoot over the top of? Physicality. Both Vincent and Martin have a real gift to guard up due to both of their imcreased strength. That’s how good defensive players make up for their biggest weakness.

#3: Does Chicago fit the build of team’s Miami wouldn’t mind seeing?

As we inch closer to the post-season, more conversations are had about specific match-ups, or the type of team that possibly fits your scheme best. And as I’ve been saying for quite some time, inside the arc teams fit Miami’s defensive build pretty perfectly. Yet, while the Bulls only hit 1 three in the first half tonight, they’re clearly an inside the arc based unit. If they go to the DeRozan-Vucevic PnR, Miami made it known PJ Tucker will handle Vuc and Bam will take DeRozan. That leaves Jimmy Butler in free safety mode on the weak-side, waiting to make that baseline double on the entry pass. That’s the reason they fit teams in that area. This current team is one that is as crisp as it gets in terms of defensive rotations, and that’s when you can fully commit to doubling, blitzing, etc.

#4: A personal favorite offensive set from Miami.

Once again, I always have to throw in my one minor evaluation point in these pieces, and this one is something I’ve been watching all year. In terms of offensive actions, utilizing Butler-Bam-Robinson on the strong side is always a good start. With this specific set, though, Bam is running things at the top of the key, while Gabe Vincent and PJ Tucker space out on the weak-side. Robinson sets a back screen on the loop for Butler, which starts the domino effect. The lob option is there for Butler, which Bam threw up to Jimmy in the third. If that isn’t there, Robinson flows into a DHO as both flash down to Butler. And if that DHO is blitzed, it’s Bam go time. The way to defensively counter is send one of those weak-side guys across as the other splits the difference. The issue: it happens so quickly that decision can’t be made.


#5: Tyler Herro passing down the igniter, becoming steady hand.

I’ve sat here on many occasions discussing a Tyler Herro scoring outpour, just through a pure igniter stand-point. But looking at tonight specifically, we saw that guy was Gabe Vincent. Past games it’s been Caleb Martin, Max Strus, etc. Watching Herro pass down the torch of that one dimensional spark piece, into a guy who is simply the steady hand on good efficiency, could be the most important development for this team. Early in this one, there were moments where he was thrown off his game a bit, which was a clear focus from the Bulls’ game-planning. But an ability to not only bounce back, but takeover the offense in the absence of Kyle Lowry is absolutely major. His downhill presence was felt, and I could eliminate the word downhill for the statement to still be correct.


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