To kick off another game without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Miami came out hot this time around. Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro getting it done early, and Omer Yurtseven getting it done late, led to Miami’s victory over this Pacers team.
So, let’s take a look through some pretty positive takeaways this time…
#1: Is that Duncan Robinson?
Well, the Duncan Robinson breakout finally occurred on Friday night against Indiana, which trickled down to Bally Sports’ technical difficulties shortly after. Clearly not a coincidence. It was nothing new for Robinson in terms of approach, except them just actually going in. His third triple of the night was the one to harp on: gets it on the wing, fires, and-1. Shortly after, he let out some frustration to himself, which seemed like the type of breakthrough he’s been waiting for. After they started to drop, the new Robinson that many predicted coming into the season was on display. Defenders flying right by him on the slightest of shot fakes led to clear driving lanes for him to attack. He was working that floater, forcing strong defensive rotations, and got to the free throw line in a way I haven’t seen him do his entire NBA career. He’s back.
#2: Kyle Lowry doing everything early on, providing a flash from the past.
Although Robinson had to be the starting point of this one, Kyle Lowry was the player of the first half. Not just because he scored 20 points in that span, but instead the way he was doing it. Knocking down the three is always a good thing to see, but his ability to attack mismatches was the true key. That’s the flash from the past. We saw it in that one fourth quarter against the Clippers, but without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, it must be the starring act more often. He’s clearly been pacing himself to preserve his abilities as much as possible, but it’s obvious this is the time for it to be utilized. Tyler Herro can be the number one scoring option, but Lowry needs to be scoring Lowry for them to win these games. And as he did in this one, can blend right back into his strong play-making ways as defenses overplay.
#3: PJ Tucker doing the early dirty work.
PJ Tucker’s stat-line at the half consisted of 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. That’s pretty much PJ Tucker on a nightly basis, but tonight was slightly different just because of what was needed. We talked a lot about the need for scorers the last few nights, but with the main guys stepping up, they needed that guy down low to provide extra opportunities for them, which led to Tucker diving on the floor any chance he got. We saw some Udonis Haslem and Omer Yurtseven early on, while Dewayne Dedmon continues to be productive in his starting role, but Tucker is the key to it all working. Even after getting late Yurtseven production, they needed strong play from Tucker to even get to that point where they feel comfortable going the Yurtseven route. He was big tonight, and he’ll be even bigger as they move forward.
#4: Tyler Herro not that bottled up spark, but the calming hand.
Tyler Herro is always going to be a spark with the way he can score the basketball at the snap of a finger, but that’s not *all* that he is. Without Butler and Adebayo, while Lowry is lined up on his side with other seasoned veterans, they’re looking to him to be that steady hand on the offensive end to either speed them up or slow them down. Like I said before, he has the keys to the offense no matter who is in or out of the lineup, but the usage is rising in this scenario. The other thing that’s currently rising: trust levels. Even while Spoelstra has trusted him to finish games since his rookie year, this is totally different. Tucker, Dedmon, Lowry, and others were waiting for him to take them where they needed to go. The 21 year old.
#5: Omer Yurtseven is ready.
Omer Yurtseven has been a garbage time killer many nights, leaving many observers wanting him to get that opportunity. Well, he got that opportunity early in this one, and it was kinda rough. He looked a bit timid, his decision making was too predictable, and was just searching for his way out there. Just like any young guy would. Spoelstra still had confidence in him through that second half for some more playing time, and he delivered. He found a rhythm in the zone defensively by altering shots, rolled with a purpose as ball-handlers found him, and stayed on his toes in an experienced fashion. Miami needed one young buck to step up over this stretch, and we’ve seen some flashes from KZ Okpala and now Yurtseven in back to back games. It’ll come down to match-ups, but Yurtseven showed tonight that he just needs time. And time will be coming his way.
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