Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Spurs

The Heat faced the Spurs in Mexico City on Saturday afternoon, and it was another back and forth event.

Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro provided enough offensive pressure throughout, while Victor Oladipo and Duncan Robinson truly stood out.

Robinson forced the second half run, Oladipo gave Miami some point of attack push back 1-on-1.

Some takeaways…

#1: Tyler Herro’s passing/Bam Adebayo’s rolling.

Before things took a bit of a turn, there was a certain Heat offensive staple they were getting to often: Tyler Herro/Bam Adebayo PnR. With Kyle Lowry out, it meant more ball-handling/creating reps for Herro at point guard. While I enjoy the stuff in the half-court, the full-court creation allows us to appreciate the control of Lowry. Herro got to the floater immediately in this one, then followed that up with keeping Tre Jones on his back before drawing the foul. From there, the setting up took off, as the Adebayo roll was the weakness of the Spurs defense. Live on-ball pressure combined with rolling gravity is quite the combo. The only issue is that it feels like when it’s connecting often, don’t stray away for two or three possessions. Make that defense stop it, then adjust from there.

#2: The Spurs early run: putting a certain Heat player in every action.

With 4 minutes left in the first quarter, Bam Adebayo exited the game with a 20-12 lead. 3 minutes later, he was coming back into the game down 5 with a score of 20-25. How did that happen? Well, the Spurs made it pretty clear that they weren’t going to get away from their offensive game-plan: attack Dewayne Dedmon in drop. I don’t want to give him all the blame, since the point of attack defense was bending a decent amount, but the goal was simply to create 2-on-1’s with Dedmon containing. We’ve talked often about the back-up big man situation, and it almost felt like Orlando Robinson is worthy of more opportunity. It isn’t helping Dedmon either that his foot injury continues to linger. The non-Bam minutes need figuring out.

#3: My thoughts on the Jovic-Bam minutes.

On paper, that front-court screams versatility and creativity. Two big guys who have the ability to both run the floor, and create opportunities for others through their passing ability. A movement offense dream. But it doesn’t ever seem to be utilized in that fashion. As noted to begin this piece, the early offense was heavy in the PnR direction with Bam and Herro, meaning Nikola Jovic is used as a spot-up guy. Of course that is fine, but those 7 minutes of play in a half are basically wasted by that point. They have the upside for sure, but the utilization next to each other feels like it needs to be elevated.

#4: Jimmy Butler flips an offensive switch in the third quarter.

In a back and forth game, the Heat needed somebody to takeover as the offensive hub to open up the second half. That guy ended up being Jimmy Butler. While they couldn’t break away by any means due to the continued defensive bending, Butler allowed Miami to stay somewhat parallel in that third quarter. Side pick and rolls down that baseline began drawing Spurs’ big men out little by little, which pretty much set up his constant drives and finishes around the rim. His slow and methodical play-style gave Miami some half-court offensive hope, along with the constant trips to the line. On the positive side, Butler was the one to put the Heat in a decent position.

#5: Duncan Robinson providing boost for Heat…Heat providing sets for Duncan Robinson.

Aside from the Butler tone setting to kick off the second half, Robinson kept them alive for large pockets of that span. Was it just Robinson hitting open shots? Well sometimes, but it was more than that. They were running sets for him again. Herro walks down to the left wing, as Robinson and Bam set up for double drag. Two fly at Herro, Bam sets the second screen, and he throws a skip pass to a wide open Robinson for the open bucket. A little bit later, they run a version of Horns with Robinson and Bam at each elbow. Robinson slips the screen to the opposite wing by Bam, who then sets the down-screen. Big time three-point shot by Robinson is the result. The very next play, they run a curl for Robinson in the same area, who draws two. He hits Bam with a pocket pass as Bam skies for a dunk. We still need to see consistency in his shooting, but watching the team run these type of sets is great to see.

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