Five Takeaways from Heat’s Loss to the Pistons

The Miami Heat dropped this one to the Detroit Pistons, as fatigue shines through as the leading factor. Short on jumpers, late on rotations, getting out-rebounded. All factors of a tired group at the end of a road trip.

Anyway, here are the five takeaways from this one…

#1: Duncan Robinson’s expanding bag creating more lineup flexibility, yet individual shot-making restricting.

Little by little, the fits surrounding Duncan Robinson are coming together. Robinson himself, on the other hand, is a completely different story tonight that I’ll have to wait to discuss. On paper, it’s one of these easiest combinations to make work. One of the league’s top 3 point specialists is a simple pair for any NBA player, but extra avenues are being explored. We’ve seen Robinson’s inside game more and more lately: the mid-range pull-up, pin-downs/back-cuts, and now dribble penetration. He drives down the lane, 3 Pistons collapse, and hits Max Strus in the corner off a hammer screen. That’s big time for Robinson, since as I said, it changes the equation for certain lineups to push a Strus and Robinson for longer minutes. Another example of flexibility is within the scheme. To start the game, he came up to screen for Kyle Lowry, Detroit blitzed, and well, that’s the last thing you want to do with Robinson as the screener. He hit that three, but none seemed to follow. And that’s tough when you’re without Butler, Adebayo, Herro, Morris, Martin, etc.

#2: The Max Strus conversation continues.

Max Strus happened again. 15 points at the half for Miami, while the second leading scorer in the entire game was Hamidou Diallo with 9 points. When talking about future lineups for this Heat team when fully healthy, it’s clear Max Strus has earned his stay. I don’t know if that means he will crack that rotation, but it should definitely take some strong consideration. On a team where the two best players don’t shoot the three-ball, Strus feels like the perfect bench piece at the back-end of the rotation. He’s consistent, he plays a simple game, and as we’ve seen over the last 2 years, his teammates are very comfortable with him on the floor, and even more importantly, highly confident in his abilities. Robinson’s degree of difficulty is unmatched, but in an open gym, Strus is evenly aligned with him. But adding the steady efficiency recently with the tougher looks he’s getting equals a rotation player on this team.

#3: Three-point attempts continue to skyrocket.

Erik Spoelstra in tonight’s pregame media availability made sure to note that it’s much more than just three-point shots rising. But in the big picture, it’s clear that is the only true outlet at this time. It’s not just about the correlation of no Butler or Bam meaning more threes, but it’s much more about being without those two leading to less rim pressure overall. Guys like Gabe Vincent and Kyle Lowry are still generating it at a high rate, but that downhill scoring presence hasn’t really been displayed. The team’s new paint touches are worked more through quick passes off back-cuts than pure drives, which leads to a higher rate of three-point shots and quick kick-outs off spiraling defensive rotations. And when the three isn’t falling, it’ll be a long night for Miami no matter who they’re facing.

#4: Does Miami act as if Bam Adebayo is on the floor too often?

When talking about losing a franchise player for a few months, it’s hard for a group of guys to fully adjust at the snap of a finger. But with some weeks lingering by, it feels like there continues to be a reliance on finding the big on the floor in an unorthodox way. It has been the case with Dewayne Dedmon as he’d lurk sideline to sideline for hand-offs, but now Omer Yurtseven turned into that guy. For an entirety of the third quarter, the ball just kept being worked into him, which is an area of his game he’s not comfortable with at this moment. Why have PJ Tucker-KZ Okpala lineups worked seamlessly in the past? Because the team knows there isn’t a big on the floor to overwork. That’s going to be key as they move forward, and much of that usage can flip when Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler get back in the mix.


#5: The importance of PJ Tucker shines.

I hinted at it slightly in the last takeaway, but this topic needs its own section. A Caleb Martin can pick up for Jimmy Butler some nights. A Max Strus can pick up for Tyler Herro some nights. But only PJ Tucker can pick up for Bam Adebayo. When Tucker went down to begin that third quarter, as I highlighted in the last section, an over-reliance on others occurred. Simply, I don’t see a way to overcome the loss of Adebayo and Tucker, even against teams like this. I can go through the catalog of guys they are missing, but everything seems to get flushed without that steady offensive rock who can get them into their sets. Without that “rock,” perimeter play is spammed, the one outlet of rim pressure with off-ball cuts is eliminated, and that three-point surge is put on display even more. I’d expect Tucker to be fine, but Miami wasn’t fine tonight.


Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *