Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Hawks

After some real crushing losses in this building for the Heat this week, they finally had a breakthrough against the Hawks.

Smooth offense, Bam Adebayo’s best game since the All Star break, and simply a needed win.

Some takeaways…

#1: The Heat changing up their offensive actions a bit, starting off with an uncommon two-man action.

When it comes to the Heat scoring 66 points in the first half, it’s obvious we don’t see that often. But we also saw something within their process that we don’t see often, and that began right out the gates when Miami noticed an interesting match-up. With Trae Young on Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler was searching for Tyler. They were running a heavy diet of two-man game, which usually ended in an easy pocket pass to Butler on the short roll, as he can search for the best option back-side within that 4-on-3. That was part of the reason Butler ended up with 5 assists at half, since they were over-committing when he got 2 feet in the lane. The other main adjustment surrounded the focus of Bam Adebayo, which I will get to later…

#2: There’s been a call for a shift in the substitution pattern, and the Heat seemed to have answered.

No Jimmy Butler, no Bam Adebayo. That’s been a lineup pattern that I’ve been tracking very closely over the last week, since it’s been so problematic night in and night out. The Heat changed things right off the bat, as Bam Adebayo got an early exit with Tyler Herro coming right behind him. There was about a 2 minute span to finish the first where neither were on the floor, but you can live with two. Just as the second quarter started up, Bam Adebayo was back out there. The entire goal is to give Butler the job with the second unit instead of Herro, since it can stabilize offense and control the turnover problems they’ve had in those units. It was clear the adjustment was coming, but good that the Heat didn’t wait on it.

#3: Bam Adebayo finding his flow, but it was intentional from Miami schematically.

As I said earlier in this piece, the Heat’s actions felt different in this game. The Butler-Herro combo was match-up based, but the Bam Adebayo sets were team/Bam based. Inverted PnR’s with Herro and Butler screening to get him downhill is always something that’s called for, and we saw that a good bit early. I’ve also been a big fan of running curls for him to operate off, since it’s essentially a living mismatch. Strus down-screened for him in the second quarter, he received it inside the elbow, jabbed, and flowed into a smooth jumper in his spot. A little bit later as Gabe Vincent walked the ball down the floor, Spo was punching his fist into an open hand, calling for a split action repeatedly. They got it to Bam, he waves Herro to fly off the screen, but it’s all a ploy to get Bam in space. Ends in a push shot for an and-1. My takeaway is as simple as this: run. actions. for. Bam. Adebayo.

#4: Cody Zeller time?

Only two players were in double figures as the game went into the half. Bam Adebayo and Cody Zeller. Yeah, that’s a new look for this Heat team. When it comes to his play, I keep coming back to one single word that stands out: activity. Jimmy Butler and Victor Oladipo are running in transition? Cody Zeller is sprinting a 40 yard dash into the play as a trailer. A shot goes up? Zeller is finding a body to potentially draw a foul or get his hand on the ball off a board. Heat searching for a decent look? Zeller is either screening in the action or off the ball. He is just in every play it feels, which brings me to that word activity. He looks fresh and he has played well.

#5: A needed win…

Aside from all of the schematic X’s and O’s stuff, the reality was a loss to this team would officially flush this season down the drain. I know you’re thinking: well, that’s been proclaimed multiple times already this season. But after those last two performances, they were in true total melt down territory. Also other than the morale side of things, this team specifically needed this against this Hawks team who are closely trailing them. A pair of wins in this set put you in a decent spot in that race within the standings. As I’ve been saying, the Heat’s new goal is the 6 seed. Avoid the play-in, avoid Milwaukee or Boston in the first round, and avoid total embarrassment to be brutally honest. Now you have to sweep this set on Monday.

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