Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Clippers

The Miami Heat get a much needed win against the LA Clippers, behind a top heavy night from the Heat roster.

Big offensive night from Bam Adebayo, timely shots from Jimmy Butler throughout, and big runs from Caleb Martin and Tyler Herro.

Some takeaways…

#1: Caleb Martin: the Heat’s early offensive savior.

The Heat’s first quarter was an absolute disaster in the half-court. If your name wasn’t Jimmy Butler, they shot 4 of 18 from the field through the first 12 minutes. So how did they end up shooting 64% (14 for 22) the next quarter? The answer is Caleb Martin. The early Heat game-plan was to acquire some paint points, but nothing was shifting the defense. Martin ended up getting some shot creation involved early in the second, giving an immediate spark. That turned into some rhythm from deep, knocking down 4 of 5 threes in the quarter, which one didn’t count since he stepped out of bounds. This season hasn’t had many ups, but Caleb Martin has been one.

#2: Bam Adebayo’s needed shot profile.

As I noted over a recent stretch, Bam Adebayo has found his go-to shot. A face-up into a pull-up jumper a few feet from the basket. But while that should be his go-to when nothing else is being generated, it shouldn’t be his consistent base. What should be that shot profile base, you may ask? Well, it’s most definitely the strong attacks to the basket. When he puts his head down and flies toward the rim, that just puts the defense in such a tough spot. Late rotations, in the mix for a simple foul, or just strict dominance. I still love that go-to jumper that he’s unlocked along the way, but the way to maximize that headliner is to prepare it by the attacking game.

#3: An intriguing lineup to monitor…

As this is “solution time,” as Bam Adebayo proclaimed it after the loss to the Detroit Pistons, let me present something that provided a solution in the first half. I already documented the rough start and Martin spark, but he wasn’t out there alone. The lineup of Herro-Oladipo-Strus-Martin-Adebayo did some very good things, as it has a wide variety of skill-sets, which they’re not tripping over each other in the half-court. A shooter (if he’s hitting or not), two primary shot creators, and two guys who can defend while providing the occasional offensive burst. When healthy, this also allows the Butler-Lowry minutes to paired more often, which is usually the goal. Keep an eye on this lineup, since they’re going to get back to this a lot…

#4: Wait, one more thing on Bam: defenses are doubling him on the catch……

While I discuss Bam’s altered approach to get to the basket more often, that’s more projecting in general. But what needs to be discussed is that he’s being doubled in that mid-post consistently off the catch. This has been for a few weeks, but it’s just creeping up more and more. Him finding counters to it are already developing, since somebody that skilled with that type of passing ability basically has built in counters. A play in the third quarter stood out though: they flew a double at him, he retreated out almost like he was going to run a hand-off, then reversed back into an attack for the lay-in. This is a major plus to the offense…for many different reasons.

#5: Another late-game walk-through…

Halfway through the 4th quarter, the Heat continue into a Butler-Bam two-man spam. A Bam floater is the outcome, putting him up to 31 points on the night. Heat send a double at Paul George on the other end to force him into a turnover, which Miami was getting comfortable doing late. On the other end, Jimmy Butler drives and dishes to Max Strus in the corner for three, really giving the Heat some life. Miami continued to put two on the ball in most circumstances the next few possessions, really coming as a surprise to the Clippers. Jimmy Butler took over really late in the quarter in that mid to low post, just choosing his switch. Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard each getting reps for Butler’s turnaround. Clippers matched some buckets shortly after to force a run of their own, but Butler countered again with a wild step back baseline jumper. The Heat close out a much needed win at home.

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