A win for the Heat, a career night for Tyler Herro.
Some takeaways from this game, with a primary focus on the play and impact of Herro…
#1: Well, Tyler Herro happened again.
25 points. 6 of 8 from three. Oh wait, that wasn’t his game stats, those were just his numbers at the half. After a 35 point night 24 hours ago, he picked up right where he left off. As I described yesterday, he was responding to the blitzing coverages and shifted to more off the ball. Tonight was a variation of that, except there was no altering coverage. His first five triples of the game came from above the break, meaning he’s just working off slip screens for catch and shoot stuff, or pure pull-ups. The three-point shooting surging at the same time as he’s getting to the line is a true gem, since we know the mid-range pull-up will be there. His off-ball movement has been great as well, which is crucial with a healthy team out there.
#2: The need for movement on this team.
While I hinted at the Herro element of this, with his continued repositioning, this team found their rhythm early in this game off pure movement. The first way is with ball movement, as it was clear it wasn’t sticking: drive, paint touch, kick, swing, repeat. There was a lineup that Jimmy Butler headlined tonight that really took this to the next level, as he was surrounded by Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, Haywood Highsmith, and Orlando Robinson. Off first glance, he’s battling it out with four undrafted guys. On second glance, he’s the only viable play-maker/distributor. That takes us into the second element of movement, which is just players cutting and flying off screens. Looking at that lineup, that basically forces you into that style. But this shouldn’t be a role player blueprint, it’s a necessary Miami Heat blueprint.
#3: Orlando Robinson time…
With Dewayne Dedmon out on the second night of a back to back, it gave Orlando Robinson some run who has been killing it in the G-League. Plus with the Heat’s need for a viable back-up center, it’s good to get this look into his game. He had a very great first half, since he knows how to hit open slots when off the ball in the interior. He makes himself available on the roll, while never seeming to stall anything on either end. He rebounds well, and gives that second unit some energy. That in-between touch will develop as he goes, but the baseline for his game is there. Now it’s just about finding a role, which there’s a certain position that needs to be filled on this roster. After flipping two-ways with Dru Smith, he might stick now for good. Or better yet, find himself a roster spot.
#4: The Heat’s shooters struggling to…shoot?
Max Strus and Duncan Robinson have had similar paths. Undrafted to Heat two-way to starter. When one has struggled in the past, the other guy was ready to step up and capitalize. But right now, the Heat aren’t getting anything from either one of their sharpshooters, which after three quarters the stats included 1 for 9 for Robinson and 1 for 8 from Strus. After Robinson had a good game in OKC, he regressed yet again beyond the arc. Strus, on the other hand, had a very fast start to the season, yet has tailed off this past month. This happens with shooters, but he just can’t find any sort of rhythm at the moment, with many of his shots coming up short. Both will have the chance to be that guy for this Heat team, but this group needs a reliable perimeter threat not named Tyler Herro.
#5: I talked Tyler Herro earlier, but it was a career night: he changes this team’s dynamic.
A 40 ball. 19 threes in 24 hours. This isn’t just a hot streak, this is a turning point with sensational numbers to back it up. Aside from the X’s and O’s stuff I brought up to begin this piece, there’s an overarching point that makes these games even more important. This gives this Miami Heat team life. That is something this team has lacked immensely, since it felt like every game has consisted of looking around for a wake up call. Two things give a team extra life. The first one is a trade, since change of scenery can change the energy of a group, which is still necessary with certain holes on the roster. The second is a player emerging right in front of your eyes. Now I won’t say this is completely “emerging” since Herro’s on a max contract, but he’s hitting new strides in the half-court at the moment. When this team needed it most, Herro gave them the boost.