Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Hawks
Heat beat the Hawks the second time in 3 days after a very strong showing from their bench.
Oladipo, Martin, Robinson come up big.
#1: Another horrendous defensive start for the Heat…
The Hawks were 2 points shy of handing the Heat their 3rd 70 point first half in the last 4 games. When it comes to expectations, did we think the early lineups they’ve been leaning into were going to be elite defensive units? I know I haven’t. But the issues have felt so simple when it comes to the schematics. The game-plan has been generally fine, yet the lack of resistance to stop the ball is the start of all their problems. This Hawks team wasn’t just killing them from deep, since they only collected 5 triples through the first 24 minutes. They were bursting by the point of attack with ease and making plays in the lane. 38 points in the paint in that first half, going 19 of 24 from the field in that range. Yeah, the shot profile was rather simple.
#2: In the meantime, Heat offense actually somewhat humming? But one constant downfall…
While the Heat were putting together an embarrassing defensive half, the Heat were quietly stringing together some of their best offense in some time. 7 of 12 from three and 54% shooting overall. A main key to that was the bench unit didn’t fully fall off a cliff, giving credit to Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin, who I will get into more extensively next. Like it usually is, all of their scores were heavy half court grinds and sets, but there is one downfall that keeps popping up: turnovers. If the Heat could find a way to wind that down a bit, the offense would be in such a better spot. Usually the second unit gets careless with Victor Oladipo leading the offense into some giveaways, but it’s the guard room in general. That screams discomfort. But either way, they were battling through that for positive scoring surprisingly.
#3: Caleb Martin finally thriving in his role.
Now when it comes to full on positives, Caleb Martin has been a major one over the last few games. As we’ve addressed all year, Martin needs to be in a role off the bench that fits him, as Bam described as “free,” while also pointing out the obvious of not having to play at the four. As for tonight, he saved the Heat’s offense. Not just because he had 16 points in that span, but the way he was getting it. Back-door cut, off-ball movement, simple slip. The consensus there, he was the only player for Miami that was moving in a way to support the hubs in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. He’s also athletic and skilled enough to make plays at the rim following the dime, leading to some early trips to the line. It’s pretty clear he looks extremely more comfortable at the moment.
#4: The two sides of Victor Oladipo on a night to night, play by play basis.
It’s been evident for a while when watching Victor Oladipo that it’s essentially a seesaw effect. There are the moments where he’s hitting shots, putting pressure on the rim, and forcing turnovers to get on the break. Yet there are other times where the turnovers are just way too much for the Heat to overcome. We saw both of these things tonight. In that first half, he was definitely loose with the ball much like the entire Heat roster, but he’s basically the man in control with that unit. Fast forward to the third, he really changed the outlook for them, beginning with a tough crossover and step back triple in the corner. He followed that up by just literally shifting the pace. Every rebound, every shot, while being on the ball or off, he was sprinting down the floor with clear momentum. It gave them a jolt, and that added pace is needed for this team, especially in that unit. Later to begin the fourth, a Duncan Robinson lob to Oladipo cemented that.
#5: Late-game finish…
Heat trailed by 1 with under seven minutes to go, and they were still searching for Duncan Robinson. Hand-off, denial, re-hand-off, three pointer. Trae Young responds with a three of his own, before Herro gets comfortable on a right wing three to put it back even at a tie game. 113-113. Out of the timeout, Heat get some offensive boards into an eventual kick-out to Caleb Martin for three, flowing back into a Jimmy Butler pick and roll who finds Herro in the same corner. That put Miami at 16 of 28 from three on the night. Hawks responded back to cut it to 3, before Butler hit a fading short jumper to put it back at 5. Heat muck up the play defensively, force a turnover, and Bam throws it down the floor to Herro. Up 7. Trae Young gets a floater to go, so Miami needs a bucket here. Heat keep going to the Butler-Herro PnR with Herro screening to get Young in the action: Butler floater. Another Young floater to counter, right before Herro turns it over on a blitz for a Murray lay-in. Heat up 125-122. Miami runs a Bam-Butler inverted PnR with 40 seconds left, and he hits the jumper. One problem: it was called a travel. Luckily Heat force a turnover on other end, and Butler gets fouled to ice it at the line.
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