The Miami Heat faced the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night, and really took care of business through and through.
Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson come up big as Miami’s offense flows pretty perfectly throughout.
So, here are some takeaways from this one…
#1: Heat’s 3 point shooting continues to surge.
11 of 17 was Miami’s three point shooting line at the half, and man it didn’t look like it was heading that way at the start. The first 4 minutes of play in the first quarter looked like it was trending in a negative direction from a shooting perspective, but Max Strus kicked off a shooting display by dropping LaMelo Ball with a single jab step. But in all seriousness, the reason this shooting is important to note is that it isn’t just a hot stretch. This team’s shooting has made major strides ever since the rotation changes, and that isn’t a coincidence. They’ve found a constant blend of shooting and defense in all 5 man groups, going smaller opens up spacing, and the shooters going from focal points to beneficiaries has molded this offense greatly. Which blends into my next takeaway…
#2: Duncan Robinson?
In a season where there isn’t much to complain about, Duncan Robinson has felt like the consistent piece that gets brought up night in and night out to pick on. Some of it is viable since he hasn’t played to a level that some may have expected, but this bench shift seems to be the best thing for his production. As I noted before, this is no longer Duncan Robinson DHO”s being the primary action in the offense. It now revolves around a bunch of factors, leading to a swing, swing, Robinson triple. Even though his numbers haven’t spiked since this game, it’s been obvious that his looks are much more open than when he was starting. A big factor of that: ever since the change, he lines up next to Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro more than ever, which used to be more Bam Adebayo and PJ Tucker. Why is that important? Well, both Butler and Herro draw more bodies than anyone on this team, giving him open looks.
#3: Bam Adebayo’s rebounding needs a quick discussion.
I’m not going to dissect the X’s and O’s of Bam Adebayo’s rebounding right now, but to the naked eye, it has stood out to me that his crashing has been a lot more impactful. People love to point out the possessions where he switches out to the perimeter and an offensive rebound is the outcome, but it seems his strong collapses are pushed to the side. As the lineups continue to get smaller and smaller with guys like Martin at the 4 or Tucker at the 5, this is a crucial component to everything staying in tact. The surrounding pieces deserve some credit as well since they’ve been crashing hard ever since that Kings game, but Bam is still the focal point. His rebounds are much more noticeable right now with how he’s attacking the glass, and it must be noted.
#4: Miami’s lapses protecting the paint.
Toward the beginning of the third quarter, the Hornets just erased Miami’s 10 point halftime lead in the blink of an eye. How did they do that? Well, defense was pretty nonexistent in this game it felt, as the score was 102-97 at the end of the third quarter. Either way, the issue was that the Heat were allowing the Hornets into the paint way too often, leading to a line of 15 of 17 at the rim. Simply, not ideal. It’s one thing to allow a team to be that efficient, but it’s even worse that they were able to prance right by Miami’s front line every possession. Now, they’re getting two feet in the lane, Miami’s collapsing, and the shooters take advantage, which is far from great when the Hornets were shooting 61% from the field heading into the 4th. This is one of those coasting defensive performances at game 80, so it shouldn’t be too worrisome, but still not great from an individual perspective with some.
#5: All about keeping an eye on seeding.
As the Heat inch closer and closer to officially locking up that 1 seed, all eyes are now on the 8 seed. As so many seem to be fearing Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets, it’s looked more likely that could end up being their first round opponent. Or will it? Well, it seems clear that the Heat could end up deciding that since they play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Beating Charlotte tonight helps Brooklyn out, and handing the Hawks a loss would help them even more. Why would Miami want to help the Nets, you may be wondering? Getting them to the 7-8 by the end of the regular season means they’re one win away from locking up that 7 seed in the play-in tournament, which puts them on the other side of the bracket. Now it’s all about monitoring others.
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