The Miami Heat got a very impressive win over Charlotte, as they won in demanding fashion on the second night of a back to back. Yet another night of all-around offensive play sparked some pretty great runs throughout for Miami. So, here are five takeaways from this performance…
#1: Bam Adebayo attacks mismatches early, which is a needed element.
Something I mentioned before the game is that Miami’s bigs would have to be the story of the game tonight. Bam Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon would have frequent mismatches tonight with smaller guards rotating into the paint, as well as some lineups including PJ Washington at the five. Adebayo did that immediately, which is interesting since that’s something that he has struggled with at times in the post. He began the game 4 for 4, including some nice hooks over smaller guys and roaming the baseline as Miami swings the defense. Adebayo is discussed after every one of these games for obvious reasons, but a lot of these games down the stretch will have certain plans heading in that he must take advantage of. He did tonight, and he must do it moving forward.
#2: Goran Dragic having one of those lively offensive games.
Goran Dragic’s burst and speed has been in question lately, except when there are a few seconds left in a quarter, where you know he’s going to revert back to rookie year levels. That aside, he gave Miami some very effective minutes offensively in the first half, even though his status was in question up until an hour before tip-off. He was the leading scorer at the half with 14 points, while one of those shots being a catch and shoot three, which is usually the way his points are coming recently. The difference tonight is that he was turning the corner and getting to the rack at a very consistent rate, which hasn’t been something that many can expect every single night. But when he does bring it, good things happen for Miami, due to the continued theme of additional attackers allowing this team to generate offense at an exceptional level.
#3: Charlotte plays at a very high pace, but Miami’s interchanging defenses neutralizes it.
It’s no surprise that Charlotte plays at a much faster pace than the average team with the LaMelo Ball 80 yard bombs anytime the ball flies off the rim. The thing about Miami is that they have the defensive tools to counter this throughout a full 48 minutes. In the first half specifically, the speed of the game was playing in the Hornets favor, and Miami immediately switched into the 2-2-1 press and 2-3 zone, which definitely threw them off a bit. Another interesting point about the press is that Charlotte was throwing it right back at them, but it wasn’t nearly as effective. Even in a season without a lot of practice time, Miami dissected that press pretty effortlessly, which has a lot to do with the current understanding of their defensive scheme. When discussing pace, it’s hard to see it favoring the other team whenever Jimmy Butler is on the floor.
#4: Dewayne Dedmon’s minutes are effective, but not surprising.
Other than the fact that I said this would be a Dewayne Dedmon game, this has become the new normal for him on this Heat team in this role. He’s a spark player, who gets it done around the rim, which isn’t the traditional way of getting it done in today’s NBA. He’s a physical force down low who may get a few foul calls in the process, but ultimately they just need that presence in their outside based offense. Another interesting element to his game is his defensive abilities, which was the main area of question when he joined. He’s become quite the rim protector when people attack, but he’s also fit into Miami’s switching scheme. Not only can he handle his own on the perimeter against smaller guys, but he sure knows how to show and go to recover back onto the big. This type of action just gives Miami some diversity with the personnel on the defensive end specifically.
#5: Jimmy Butler looked just like….Jimmy Butler.
It wasn’t a game for Jimmy Butler that he out-shined others in the points column. It wasn’t a game that he needed to fully takeover. It wasn’t a game that he needed to play the fourth quarter. It was just a strong all around performance that was sparked by Butler’s all around play. He filled up the assist and rebound column with 8 each, and that doesn’t even almost describe the impact he had tonight. Other than his locked in mindset on the defensive end, he was just locked in all around from the jump, seeming to know the important of these games down the stretch. This was a glimpse of what he’s capable of doing in much win situations such as the playoffs, and it makes that a lot easier when his counter parts step up. This was definitely one of Miami’s most promising wins of the season, due to them winning by a decent margin.