Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Thunder

The Miami Heat faced the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night, and it went as you would expect.

A bunch of guys chipped in, leading to an easy win in the process.

So, here are some takeaways from this one…

#1: Duncan Robinson, literally telling opposing teams to step up in that drop coverage.

Duncan Robinson opened up this game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a way many would want to see, but more importantly, in a way many should expect due to the extra space he sees against drop coverage. Hits three straight triples to start this game out, and they all looked identical. Same hand-off guy, in Bam Adebayo. Same defenders both on the ball and in that drop. Same look on that curl. After making the third, he runs down the floor as the Thunder call timeout, telling the bench that someone needs to step up. A lot can be talked about from these short bursts that many want to see, but he needs that confidence back. It’s one thing to hit threes, but it’s another thing to get back in some type of comfortable NBA rhythm.

#2: The real winner of the PJ Tucker-Markieff Morris minutes is a 22 year old guard that you may know of.

The more we see the PJ Tucker-Markieff Morris front-court, the more there is to like. PJ Tucker can take care of his hammer screens and hand-offs, while Morris runs the post-splits and takes the mid-range jumper when it’s presented within the post. The common thread: both can space at a very high level. And due to that specific spacing, mostly within the two corners, Tyler Herro benefits greatly. We know the usage has been high for Herro, but as seen early in this one, it consists of a lot of crowded drives where four guys collapse down. In this lineup, there’s some reluctant variants where guys think twice before dropping off the shooters. This lineup will be seen frequently, as the new question becomes depending on match-up: Dewayne Dedmon or Markieff Morris?

#3: Max Strus: king of the slip screen.

You already know we must take at least one section in every one of these to talk about the minor “basketball” aspect of things. Tonight’s topic is something I’ve brought up frequently, but it shines more and more every time Max Strus plays. If he’s coming to set a screen, he’s slipping it. Yet, it feels like every team he faces isn’t ready for that specific burst. Ghost screens with guys like Herro right now are pure gold, since teams are more worried about keeping two on the ball than trailing the shooter. In a playoff series, teams could obviously adjust, but with the discussed role of Strus in the post-season of small spark bursts, teams may not have time to figure it out.

#4: Tyler Herro scaring Heat nation for a bit.

As Herro runs another pick and roll midway through the third, this one goes a bit differently. He throws a skip pass to the weak-side corner in mid-air, but lands awkwardly. Didn’t seem to be a consensus if it was a slight ankle twist or a knee buckle, but either way he was down in pain. A lot of pain. Face first into the hardwood as everybody in the building held their breath. Spo made his way out there as Herro rolled over before walking off on his own. He stretched out on the bench for a bit, then headed back to the locker room. Clearly, his night was over. Yet, that wasn’t the case? Everybody got to breathe a little as he made his way back onto the Heat bench, but better yet, he made his way to the scorers table to enter. Why, you may ask? I simply have no idea.


#5: Time to get some guys an off day.

Some people hate to hear when certain guys are taking games off, but others really do need it. Jimmy Butler getting it right now isn’t the worst thing as Caleb Martin returns, but a front-court mate needs to take it when it’s there as well: PJ Tucker. Now that they’re getting healthier on the front line, Tucker’s going to need to sit a few going down the stretch of the season. He’s been one of the few constants all year, but the problem is that if he gets in his car to drive to the arena, or goes through warm-ups with a questionable tag, he’s going to play. Dewayne Dedmon is another name that fits into this conversation, but Miami did it in their own way with him. With the ability to go small and versatile, Dedmon wasn’t a part of the 9 man tonight. And as I hinted at before, could be a consistent trend at times.

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