Although Miami won a game that they were expected to win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it holds more value than you may think.
For starters, the confidence factor. This is across the board for everybody, but that starts with Jimmy Butler. He got some easy buckets at the start of the game, which was needed since him setting the tone was essential.
Also, the recent lack of 2 point shot attempts for Miami this season falls on Jimmy, since he is their primary attacker.
Duncan Robinson hitting 4 threes in the first half, after going 0-5 in the first half against Dallas is also very important. As I mentioned before the game, this match-up with OKC was a rhythm game. Getting Duncan back into his normal shooting rhythm holds value heading into Wednesday’s game against Boston.
So regaining that confidence was important for this team right now, but it wasn’t as important as regaining clarity.
Sixth different starting lineup in six games definitely doesn’t scream clarity, but maybe the slogan should be sixth time’s a charm.
Miami now has a clear 9 man rotation that they can go to on a regular basis, since this issue all along has been the 5th starter. I’ve been discussing keeping the main four guys off the bench together, since there is obvious continuity between them. The Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa offensive importance, and the Avery Bradley and Andre Iguodala defensive importance.
The fifth starter needed to be a guy that fits next to Bam Adebayo, can space the floor, and keep Miami in a good flow. And well, Kelly Olynyk did just that.
This does not mean Erik Spoelstra won’t change some things up with the starters or rotation going forward, but as of right now, he has his core group.
Miami needed both confidence and clarity these past few games, and it looks like they already have both after the sixth regular season game. And I believe that has a lot to do with the return of Jimmy Butler.