Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Magic

Another ugly type game. Another clutch game. Another Heat game.

The Heat held off the Magic late with a game that just keeps repeating itself.

Here are some takeaways…

#1: Should I even bring up the shooting again?

When it comes to recapping these games, it’s necessary for me to once again bring up the three-point shooting. But it’s pretty clear this stuff is getting repetitive. In a deeper sense, this stuff isn’t really an outlier anymore. It’s who they are. At halftime, they were shooting 17% from three. Plus if you eliminate Max Strus’ 2 of 2 start off some DHO actions, they were 1 of 16 from deep. I will get to it in a second, but Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo combined for 28 first half points. Two guys that are interior threats without a three-ball, they need the correct spacing to make it work. Luckily, those guys were making due with the limited space early in this one, but that trend just can’t roll into the playoffs.

#2: Some early Jimmy Butler work.

We can talk about Jimmy Butler’s game played for obvious reasons, but it’s clear that when he has played, he’s been competing at a high level. He had 18 points through the first 24 minutes, and this wasn’t like that Thunder game with straight free throws. He had 4 free throws, but more importantly, 7 field goals. The common thread was mostly dunker spot bouncing, as the perimeter players were dishing it to him in motion many times for simple paint points. But the other stuff was mostly mismatch hunting. Oh that’s Cole Anthony on my back? I’ll just take this mid-post touch into a low-post touch. Oh I have Wendell Carter in space? Quick drive and spin for the lay-in. He *was* the offense in the first half.

#3: Some Bam Adebayo foul trouble.

Just to maintain a pulse check on this game, the Bam Adebayo foul trouble was a decent portion of the direction of this game. Not all of it, but some of it. The Magic were doing a good job of getting to the rim, and as we know, Adebayo’s going to do his best to meet them there in that clean up crew role. He got called for some questionable ones when it appeared he went straight up an down, but that ultimately meant more Orlando Robinson. He’s been a better alternative than the other options, but it’s definitely not perfect. The lack of a big man offensive hub, the hands need work, and the defense can be picked on when there isn’t blitzing. We don’t see Adebayo foul trouble often, but it was a first half story-line.

#4: If Kyle Lowry is shifting into more of an off-ball role, the shots need to be taken.

With another underwhelming first half when it came to Kyle Lowry’s box score, that wasn’t my biggest problem. It’s the amount of kick-outs he was receiving and passing up. It’s one thing to be unselfish. It’s another to hurt the half-court offense by denying good looks. We saw him beginning to take some of those shots in the third, knocking down back to back triples that were two of his more contested looks of the evening. That stretch was probably the best few minutes of the game for their offense, as you began seeing certain lanes opening up. Yes he’s now in more of a spot-up role with all of the on-ball threats, but the main need within those minutes it to take the open shots off the catch.

#5: Late-game play…

While I’ve described many of the things that were going wrong, let me start with something that began going right. Mid-way through the fourth quarter, the Heat made their offensive run by some transition Caleb Martin finishes. He put a wild move on Orlando for an insane up and under, then followed that up with another tough lay to push it to a 5 point lead. As both teams were throwing some punches back and forth, the Heat found a common thread defensively. Collapsing on drives. A few blocks for Adebayo and Martin got the Heat on the break a good bit, giving them some momentum. The Magic responded with some foul drawing to continue to claw away cutting the Heat’s lead to only two with 2 minutes remaining. The following plays consisted of another tough Martin finish, a Wendell Carter triple, and a Butler spin and score with the and-1. Heat up 4. Orlando ended up cutting it to 3, 40 seconds left, Butler walks the ball down the floor. Butler-Bam PnR turns into a tough Butler floater that drops, as he trots off the floor into a timeout. Out of that timeout, Butler ended up fouling Banchero on a three, as he went 2 of 3 from the line. 3 point game. Some eventual free throws iced the game, as the Heat get the win.

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