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5 Takeaways from Miami’s Loss to Toronto

The Miami Heat played the Toronto Raptors once again on Friday night, and fell short this time. Miami’s early struggles put them in a hole, and a couple of late pushes just weren’t enough. Anyway, here are five takeaways from the game….

#1: Slow start for Miami, fast start for Toronto.

The first takeaway that was apparent tonight was the slow start Miami came out with. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with energy though, just mostly an inability to get into their normal offense. Toronto clearly made adjustments from Wednesday to Friday night, mostly by trying to eliminate Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo from the offense as much as possible due to constant double teams. And it’s hard to make adjustments to the adjustments when you don’t have Jimmy Butler or Tyler Herro, as well as Goran Dragic in early foul trouble. But those excuses are unnecessary, since they just beat this team the other night with Kyle Lowry. Either way, Miami’s poor shooting early was the primary reason for their early struggles, especially since the role players couldn’t capitalize.

#2: Kendrick Nunn not only looked like himself, but looked better.

Even when Miami’s entire offense could not get in a rhythm due to constant doubles on Bam and Duncan discussed earlier, Kendrick Nunn became the only reliable scorer. He continues to showcase the ability to get downhill and to the basket, but more importantly stop on a dime for the immediate pull-up jumper. The offense can be discussed continuously, but what really stood out was the defensive end. He was very active on that side of the floor all night, but really thrived once Miami switched into a 2-3 zone. That’s when he began to look most comfortable, and a high comfort level is the most important attribute for his overall game. Seeing Kendrick Nunn look like himself once again is terrific in itself, but seeing him look like an improved version of the guy who placed second in rookie of the year voting last season is even better.

#3: When the role players don’t play their roles early, it doesn’t end up well.

As discussed previously, Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo had their hands full with Toronto’s defense early, while Kendrick Nunn handled the offensive load. But what about the rest of the team? Well, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus had major opportunities but did not play very well on the offensive side of the ball. Kelly Olynyk did not have many early minutes after Toronto went small, which would’ve been a huge boost before the Raptors got an early lead. The surprising minutes stat line in the first half though was 5 minutes for Precious Achiuwa. That has a lot to do with Bam playing 18 first half minutes, and they never seem to get inserted together. When the role players struggle early as demonstrated here, it’s pretty obvious how Miami trailed throughout.

#4: Bam Adebayo increases energy to begin the second half.

Miami clearly needed a boost of some kind to begin the second half, and Bam Adebayo took that upon himself individually. Mid-range jumpers and skip passes aside, he just brought the energy that Miami needed to make a run to begin the quarter. That was mostly sparked on the defensive end, which is no surprise. When the team is without Jimmy Butler, it’s needed to have somebody they can look to for some type of spark, and it’s great to see that Bam continues to take on that leader role. As he has mentioned in the past, there’s a big difference between leading by example, and leading vocally, and he looks to be evolving in both areas.

#5: Erik Spoelstra utilized exactly what he was given, plain and simple.

Before people begin to make comments about certain rotational decisions in this game, it ultimately doesn’t change a thing. Coach Spo went as deep into the bench as he could, due to the absence of Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Avery Bradley. Some guys down the line may not have performed as great as many had hoped, but that doesn’t fall on coaching or lineup insertions. And playing Brooklyn tomorrow night on a back to back makes those decisions even more viable. He utilized the cards that he was given. The issue was that he just doesn’t have that many cards in his deck.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Raptors

The Miami Heat played the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night without Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Avery Bradley once again, and came away with a very impressive win. Here are five takeaways from this game…

#1: Well, Kendrick Nunn is officially back.

The story of the night for the Miami Heat was Kendrick Nunn. With Goran Dragic and Gabe Vincent starting tonight, Kendrick was the only guard off the bench, so it was clear he’d get a good amount of minutes. But the questions were about how he’d perform in those minutes. And well, he looked like rookie of the year candidate Kendrick Nunn. He scored 16 points in the first half, going 6-8 from the field, scoring from the outside, off the dribble, off cuts, and more. The overall reason for this though was confidence. His body language was just very different throughout the game tonight, and that’s when he performs at his best.

#2: Duncan Robinson’s impressive three-point shooting and three-point efficiency.

If Kendrick didn’t have this unexpected comeback game, Duncan Robinson would probably be the primary story. He hit 4 first quarter threes on 4 attempts, and I don’t know which number is more impressive. His efficiency continues to be a huge part of his game, which is clearly a great thing, but it seems like his attempt numbers matter more than the percentage, especially without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. After that first quarter shooting display, he didn’t attempt a three in the second quarter. This team needs Duncan to get as many shots up as possible, since as seen tonight, it opens everything up for others. His game looks to be evolving game by game with his increased role, which we will most likely look back at this stretch down the line as the moment Duncan took the leap.

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#3: Miami’s big man defensive versatility continues to impress.

I think this takeaway goes without saying, but it truly needs to be noted after seeing the match-ups with Toronto. Bam Adebayo being able to switch onto a guard out on the perimeter is clearly impactful for this team, but seeing Precious Achiuwa enter doing the same thing makes it stand out. The Raptors strength is their guard play and the Heat’s weakness is their guard defense, but it doesn’t look as problematic when the bigs switch out without hesitation to lock them up on the perimeter. It doesn’t make this issue any better, but it does highlight that ability on a nightly basis. There’s never a dull moment with Miami’s interchanging energetic big men, since even though they don’t play together, they clearly bounce off each other.

#4: Kelly Olynyk doing the small things.

It didn’t seem like Kelly Olynyk would be in tonight’s takeaway piece, but the stat-sheet solidified it. He scored the ball pretty well tonight, but truly stood out in the other areas. He rebounded the ball well and dished out plenty of assists, which is needed with Jimmy Butler out. He played in plenty of lineups with Precious Achiuwa, which meant he was needed to be the facilitator. He’s also great at making the skip pass to an open man, although it sometimes leads to unnecessary turnovers. Kelly Olynyk seems to be forming into a great fit with the starting lineup, especially since it gives Bam his space to work in the mid-range area.

#5: Miami handles a guard heavy Raptors team without their top guard defenders.

Now, the overall evaluation from the night is actually the guys that Miami was missing. Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley being out makes you wonder about the perimeter defense on any given night, but especially when facing a Toronto team with Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Miami’s guards defending them were Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, and Gabe Vincent, who actually defended quite well during his minutes tonight. The point is that it’s a great sign for Miami to win a game in that department, no matter if Toronto has been struggling or not. This win is clearly a confidence booster, but they will need to do it for another 48 minutes in 48 hours.

Will The Bam Adebayo-Precious Achiuwa Duo Be Seen?

The two guys that many fans have been waiting to get a look at on the floor together is Miami’s centerpiece, Bam Adebayo, and the rookie, Precious Achiuwa.

They have similar games, due to their high energy and versatility on the defensive end, which makes many people wonder about them on the court at the same time.

Erik Spoelstra was asked about it, and said, “Defensively they can wreck a lot of havoc just with their size and quickness and physicality. We’re just trying to simplify as much as possible with Precious.”

And that last part tells you why they haven’t been seen together.

One of Precious Achiuwa’s biggest staples this far into the season is that he plays his exact role no matter who he is facing, and doesn’t get rattled or flustered.

And the coaching staff seems to want to keep it that way. “Simplifying” his game has a lot to do with allowing Precious to do what he does best, without changing anything within his role or play-style.

Although Erik Spoelstra hinted at these two not being seen much together as of right now, he mentioned possibly utilizing it once in a while.

It’s pretty clear that Erik Spoelstra always keeps something in his pocket that he can use when most needed, and this may be his card this season.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t play them together in all 72 games, then throws them out there in the first round of the postseason.

And this year’s unplayable card is much more deadly than a 2-3 zone that he kept in his pocket last year. This is something that seems like the perfect fix when Miami needs a defensive boost, and it’s a low risk due to both players being so under control.

Miami knows they have something with each of these players individually, but the question becomes as a duo. And I believe it has much more to do with timing, than it does about simplifying.

A Bam Adebayo Breakdown Against Detroit

Bam Adebayo was the story of the night against the Detroit Pistons, since his offensive package was finally put on full display. Many are aware of his defensive presence that I’ll highlight a bit here, but taking a look at his offensive improvement is the most important thing to highlight.

Here’s a breakdown of Bam Adebayo’s performance…

– Bam and Duncan 2 Man Game

The first thing to obviously evaluate with Bam Adebayo on offense is the dribble hand-off connection with Duncan Robinson. Coach Spo inserted them both with 20 seconds left in the quarter, so they can try and get a bucket before the buzzer. As seen here, Duncan’s gravity even stands when attacking the basket. The deadliness of this DHO combo has been discussed, but Duncan’s ability to put the ball on the floor like this elevates them even more. And although Duncan is harped on with this combo, it wouldn’t be possible without Bam’s screen setting, offensive activity, and most importantly his main job of being the safety net.

– The Improvements of that 2 Man Game

The play shown previously is pretty much what we are used to seeing with these two, but this play showcases the evolution. Duncan becoming more confident in other areas of his game allows Bam to thrive even more in these sets. He fakes the DHO to Gabe Vincent, then hands it off to Robinson for a 2 on 1 opportunity. He threw the lob up comfortably and Bam finished at the rim. These last two games without Herro and Butler allowed them to develop their chemistry in different ways offensively, and it looks like it is paying off.

– The Jab Step Jumper

For starters, I’ve been saying since the beginning of the season that Bam’s jumper looks most fluid after a jab step. It just seems to put him into his normal shooting motion, since he creates the space that is needed. On this play, Bam gives a jab step left, and sends Plumlee flying backwards, which gives Bam more than enough space to connect on the elbow jumper. After teams watch film on Bam, they’re aware of his ability to put the ball on the deck and get to the rim, and that ultimately allows Bam’s jab step to become more and more effective.

– Rebound, Dribble, Full-Court Dime

Well, this is Bam Adebayo at his finest, surveying the floor after a rebound to find the open man. Here, he grabs the board and sees the open Kendrick Nunn at the other end of the court. He throws a pass in-between all of Detroit’s defenders for a Kendrick Nunn layup. That is when Bam Adebayo’s full offensive package is seen. He’s able to do so many things on the floor, and it’s hard for a defense to keep up with, especially slower big men. This isn’t really highlighting growth, since he’s always had this and utilized it, but it’s still an important part of his game to get others involved.

– An Attacking Adebayo

As much as it’s great to harp on Bam’s jump-shot, this is the best part of his offensive game. He dribbles the ball up the floor on the first possession of the second half, and immediately attacks the rim. The other four Miami Heat players are cleared out on the opposite end of the floor, giving him the space he needs to do what he does best. Not only did he get to the spot he loves to get to, it ended up sending him to his actual favorite part of the floor, the free throw line. Bam’s free throw attempts and makes have been increasing rapidly, and that’s when his entire game will come together.

– The Small Things Aren’t So Small

This play right here may look like a normal Bam Adebayo pass seen every single game, but that just makes it more impressive. First off, his ability to read everything so thoroughly, noticing Kelly Olynyk being open after the screen down low. But more important, his ability to throw a wrap around baseline pass in a congested area isn’t normal for a big man. And although many will say it’s because he’s not a normal big, these types of plays solidify that.

– Adebayo’s Defensive Activity

These are the types of plays that label Bam Adebayo as the great defender that he is. He switches out onto Derrick Rose on the pick and roll to double team, and forces him to swing it. Detroit then tries to find the open man, while Bam immediately drops back down to Plumlee. As he gets there, he notices the pass Plumlee is about to make and jumps the passing lane, poking it loose from Grant. His defensive awareness is off the charts, but pair that up with his natural quickness and length, and it’ll tell you why he continues to wreck havoc on that end of the floor.

– The Jumpers are Coming as Confidence Rises

Now, here are the possessions that Bam’s jumper comes into play. First off, as I mentioned earlier, it all derives off of confidence. On the first play, Bam notices Plumlee giving him way too much space, so he takes one dribble up to the free throw line for a pull-up mid-range. After that shot, you can tell by his body language that he has that confidence in his jumper now. The next play he looks to take Plumlee off the dribble on the baseline, and when he’s cut off, instinctively pulls back for a step back jumper. His jump-shots need to be instinctive, since that’s when he shoots naturally without thinking about it. He clearly has it in him, but it comes down to him utilizing it consistently.

– The Bam Block or The Bam Clamps

This Bam block to close the game out was described as the play of the game, but I don’t even think it was the most impressive part of the possession. Miami clearly needed a stop, and the ball was going to be in Jerami Grant’s hands. Bam switched out onto him on the perimeter, and did what he does best: Lock guys down on the outside. Not only does he stay in front of him the entire time, but he angles his body perfectly to cut him off before getting to the basket, leading to an outstanding block. It’s the small things with Bam Adebayo, but it doesn’t get highlighted much since he does it so effortlessly.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Victory Over Pistons

The Miami Heat faced off against the Detroit Pistons once again, and came away with a much needed win. They struggled again early, but battled back without Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler once again. Anyway, here are five takeaways…

#1: Precious Achiuwa the energizer, Precious Achiuwa the leader.

The player that stood out from the moment he checked in tonight was rookie Precious Achiuwa. It seems as if I discuss him in every one of these takeaway pieces, and that’s because he stands out in a certain area every night. Tonight, he showed his leadership abilities, while only being 11 games into his NBA career. When Miami began to trail big time early in the first quarter, Precious shared the floor with Kendrick Nunn, Gabe Vincent, and Moe Harkless, and Achiuwa seemed to become the voice on the floor. Communicating after plays to get the team energized, and he did just that. In both of Miami’s first half runs, Precious was on the floor, and it wasn’t a coincidence. He’s another one of those high impact players that Miami loves, and he continues to improve in all areas of his game.

#2: Kendrick Nunn gives quality offensive minutes.

Well, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, and Avery Bradley being out means major openings at the guard position. And even though many aren’t high on Kendrick Nunn at the moment, Coach Erik Spoelstra shows to have the utmost confidence. Kendrick did exactly what was needed from him, which was to score the basketball. He looked to have confidence in his jump-shot, and it’s great to see him showing these flashes. Now, he still may not look like rookie Kendrick Nunn, but it surely was a step up from his production to begin the year. Miami needed offensively sounded players to step up tonight without their primary scorers, and he played his role.

#3: Rebounding continues to look like the biggest Miami issue.

I’ve gone through a bunch of Miami’s issues including turnovers, lack of shot attempts, and others, but none stand out like the lack of rebounding. Obviously Detroit is a big team, but this is an ongoing thing that occurs nightly. The Pistons continued to dominate the offensive boards, which once again translates to more shot attempts. If Miami could’ve cut those offensive rebounds in half, they would’ve controlled the game with ease, but clearly that’s not the case. As many people harp on different additions that can be made to this team, a guy that can be plugged in the front-court looks to be the team’s biggest need. Many times throughout the game, Bam is the sole big on the floor, and when he flies out to the perimeter on a close-out, it leads to an easy put-back. He needs help on the glass, and it doesn’t look to be on the roster, unless Spo decides to pair him up with Precious Achiuwa.

#4: Duncan Robinson shoots Miami through this game.

Duncan Robinson looked like the same old Duncan Robinson, but in a game where Miami trailed for most of it, it’s necessary to highlight it. Miami needed a source of offense with Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro out, and Duncan gave them a huge boost after connecting on the usual dribble hand-off threes. Although his stats don’t scream off the stat sheet tremendously, it had more to do with the timing of his scores. He was the reason for Miami’s two big offensive runs in the first half. The reason he is the biggest threat when Miami begins to get momentum on a run is because he’s much better in a quick flow. When Miami begins to run and build a rhythm, Duncan becomes more and more effective as a scorer.

#5: Bam Adebayo’s scoring aggressiveness seems to come out with a Miami lead.

The big discussion throughout tonight’s game with Bam Adebayo was about him taking initiative. When Miami needed a burst of offense when trailing, he continued to facilitate and get others going. There were many moments throughout where Bam looked to have clear opportunities to try and score, but decided to defer. But once Miami got a decent lead in the second half, his offense began to be seen. Now, that could be a type of confidence that he can play free with the ball in his hands due to the game situation, but it clearly worked. This starts to make Heat fans wonder why this isn’t seen more often. He began to hit the mid-range jumper consistently, but as I’ve mentioned many times, I believe it’s more important to see him put the ball on the floor and attack.

A Breakdown of Miami’s Second Half Struggles Vs Detroit

The Miami Heat had a rough night against the Detroit Pistons on both sides of the floor. Although they were without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, some things consistently look problematic.

Here are some video breakdowns referring to the collapse in the second half…

– Defensive Awareness

At the beginning of the third quarter, Bam Adebayo and KZ Okpala continued to wreck havoc on their switches in the pick and roll. On this play, they look to do that again, as Kelly Olynyk slides over to cut off Jerami Grant on the drive. Instead though, that cut off was not needed, since Bam would’ve had the angle regardless. That led to an open corner three for Blake Griffin on the wing. The reason awareness plays a part is because Grant had it going at this point and Griffin had not shot the ball well, so it made sense to cut him off. But when it’s KZ and Bam on the perimeter, it’s necessary to just worry about your guy off the ball.

– Duncan Denial

When I discuss Duncan Robinson’s gravity, this is part of the reason. There is constant denial as he runs around the perimeter, and when he gets the ball, he has zero room to get a shot off. This was great for Detroit to do, especially at this point in the game since the offense was choppy from everyone on the floor. When this begins to happen, it usually allows guys like Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro to benefit, but obviously that wasn’t the case. Goran Dragic usually benefits from these spurts as well, but he did not have it going at all.

– Stagnant Offense Turns Into Forced Offense

 

As mentioned previously, the offense was clearly stagnant at this point, where Miami couldn’t get into their usual efficient offensive sets. To that point, Goran and Bam run a quick pick and roll, while Dragic forces a lob pass over the top just inside the free throw line, leading to a turnover. Usually when Miami’s turnovers begin to kick in, Goran is the one to settle them down. But that wasn’t the case yesterday, and it was even more necessary with Tyler and Jimmy out. The clear issue has been turnovers, since it leads to easy baskets, and less shot attempts.

– Turnovers to Points

After the careless Goran Dragic lob showed previously, Jerami Grant runs the break. Miami is clearly out of sorts in their transition defense, and it leads to Miami basically giving up on the play at the end of the possession. Bam runs into the picture late, and ends up standing out on the perimeter. And that’s the reason for poor defensive possessions: Standing around. As Bam explained after the game, that’s not Miami Heat defense. Some stuff is obviously schematic, but most of it seems to be about actually take pride on that end of the floor. And Miami hasn’t been doing that.

– Poor Spacing Leads to Poor Shots

Miami’s spacing on these possessions toward the end of the third quarter were non-existent, especially since Bam and Duncan were on the sideline. Andre looks to give Goran a dribble hand-off, but Goran pops out instead while Precious sets a screen. This causes three defenders piled up in one spot on the floor. But the worst part is that it led to an Andre Iguodala three with 13 seconds left on the shot clock. It almost seemed as if Miami gave up on a lot of possessions when things didn’t go their way.

– No Initiative 

Now, the biggest thing that stood out from Miami’s offense last night was the expectation level from many players on the team. They were waiting for somebody to take initiative and create offense, but nobody chose to do so. That resulted in many empty possessions like the Iguodala three showed before. I don’t want to continually harp on the players they were missing, but Jimmy and Tyler help tremendously with taking initiative with the ball in their hands. When nobody takes initiative, over-passing begins to occur, and that leads right back to the turnover issue.

– Poor Defensive Execution

The game was over at this point in the fourth quarter, but these are the type of defensive breakdowns that continued to occur from Miami throughout. KZ Okpala didn’t make a quick enough decision to go out and double team or stay on his man, which meant the passer has the ability to find the open man. Goran slides down to the big, while his man cuts to the basket for an easy bucket. It just doesn’t seem to be one issue on that end of the floor. With some players it’s decision making, while others may need a bit more “heart” as Bam Adebayo said post-game.

5 Takeaways from Miami’s Loss to Detroit

The Miami Heat faced the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night, which was a game that the Heat were expected to win, even without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. Although Miami led at the half, the Pistons exploded in the second half to beat Miami. Here are five takeaways from this game…

#1: KZ Okpala is unleashed early on.

Well, KZ Okpala got the start tonight, and it went as great as any Heat fan may have hoped. He scored 10 first quarter points in demanding fashion. The three point shot looked good, he was active on the offensive boards, and looked great off the dribble. His confidence with the ball in his hands stood out, which had to be something the coaching staff discussed with him heading into the game. He’s a player that needs to play with self confidence on offense, since he has everything in there, but it just needs to be put together. He was also all over the place defensively, constantly moving but showed to be impressive with one-on-one assignments. Once Miami gets their entire team healthy, that second unit may include KZ Okpala moving forward.

#2: Turnovers still impacting this team negatively.

Thirteen first half turnovers definitely weren’t ideal, with most coming throughout the first quarter. They were spread out pretty evenly across the team, and I feel they had more to do with forcing passes than carelessness. It usually happens out on the perimeter, when a guy picks up their dribble and they try to find their primary ball handler. These issues cause Miami to have less shot attempts, which is the last thing you would want on this team. They shot 59% from the field in the first half, and only led by 4 against the Detroit Pistons. Once those issues begin to be leveled, everything else will begin to fall in place.

#3: Bam Adebayo looks impressive offensively in the first half.

Bam Adebayo scoring 18 first half points after missing some time with Covid protocols is pretty impressive. He was 6 for 7 from the field, and 6 for 6 from the free throw line. Not only is a scoring Bam Adebayo great to see, but an efficient Bam Adebayo was even better. The jumper looked as good as it’s ever been, which many will point to his and-1 baseline jumper before the halftime buzzer. As many have alluded to in the past, he has an elite offensive ability in his package. It just comes down to when he decides to use it. And on a night where Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro were out, it showed great awareness on his part to step up, but obviously it wasn’t enough.

#4: Bad looking third quarter shines light on other Miami Heat players.

It got to a point in the third quarter where Miami just didn’t look good on either end of the floor. There are obviously defensive holes on this team, but the offensive struggles were the real issue in the third. Miami had terrible spacing, and just couldn’t get anything going. And well, that all transpired as Bam Adebayo took a breather on the sideline. Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro not playing also contributes to the struggle on that end, but you’d think lineups with Goran Dragic and Duncan Robinson could spark something. It obviously has a lot to do with Miami just having an off night offensively, but it also shades light on Miami’s main staples. Jimmy Butler is clearly needed, but more importantly it isn’t sustainable to have Bam off the floor when Jimmy’s out.

#5: Duncan Robinson shot attempts must increase, especially in spots where offense is choppy.

If there was any takeaway from this game, it would have to be the shot attempts from Duncan Robinson. Although the stat line may not make you think he needs to get more up, it was clearly necessary in the game flow. Obviously he’s getting absolutely blanketed at every moment of the game, but a contested Duncan three holds more value than many player’s open threes. There always seems to be spots in the game where you think to yourself, where is Duncan Robinson? His gravity alone should continually be harped on, since it is important, but it doesn’t hold as much value when the entire offense can’t get going. I’ve discussed Duncan expanding his game a bit more, but I believe it’s more about increasing the volume of his own strength.

How Can Miami’s Game Against Washington Be the Big Turn-Around?

One of the biggest issues for Miami has been the lack of getting a good amount of shot attempts up, which turnovers and rebounding have played into that.

Miami currently ranking 26th in the NBA in points per game mirrors that statement as well.

But how cam Miami turn things around in their match-up with Washington?

Although we can dive into things Miami can do better, looking sharper on offense will be the spark for everything else. And since Washington’s defense is known to not be very good, the Heat can use this game to get into a rhythm.

When the players spoke with media on Friday afternoon, there seemed to be a mutual statement and feeling towards the importance of this road trip. Tyler Herro even mentioned looking back at it later in the season, since it can be the turning point.

Tyler Herro is also the name that can benefit from this game tomorrow. He has taken major accountability for Miami’s struggles, saying “Everything is on me.” But I’m not so sure it’s all on him.

Many can point to his offensive struggles thus far, but he’s actually averaging the same exact numbers he put up in his rookie season, just with a bit better field goal percentage. Now, of course those numbers should be up since it’s supposed to be his second year breakout, but they’re only seven games in. He will begin to find a rhythm offensively, which can ultimately be a huge plus for this team.

His three point shooting has not been ideal this far especially, since he is currently shooting 30% from three. And even with Goran Dragic’s hot start, he is shooting 25% from beyond the arc up to this point.

Lastly, many figured Bam Adebayo would take a leap in aggressiveness and initiative to begin the season, but that hasn’t happened as much as many would’ve liked as well.

It’s a combination of a bunch of guys across the board that have contributed to Miami’s struggles, but each of them can look to benefit in this road trip, starting with the Washington Wizards.

Miami should be able to explode offensively on Saturday night, which would be even better due to the fact that they can rest for the following night against Boston.

And once offense begins to generate on this Heat team, that will make their other issues much less noticeable.

If they come out with the mindset of just getting the ball up when they have an opportunity, rhythm will begin to form.

Could Miami’s Biggest Downfall Be Unselfishness?

I’ve gone through the different problems with this Heat team since the beginning of the season, including turnovers, lack of shot attempts, and rebounding. But the reason for a good portion of their issues seem to be unselfishness.

One thing I saw last night was that lineups that include their three best players, Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo, did not seem to be as effective as when they played with only two of them.

But why is that exactly?

Well, all three of those guys are pretty unselfish players, which means there is a lack of clarity on who the main aggressor will be on any given possession.

The main reason Miami put themselves in a hole last night was due to one word: Over-Passing.

And that doesn’t just pertain to the lineup with Jimmy, Goran, and Bam, since Tyler Herro and others are guilty of doing it a ton.

There are moments in the game where Tyler just needs to be Tyler and get shots up on the basket. Instead, he gives an extra pass or throws it out to the corner on the drive, when his original shot would’ve been the best shot.

When players on a team are selfish, it impacts the quality of the locker room. When players on a team are unselfish, it impacts their play on the floor.

The turnovers and lack of shot attempts have a lot to do with the over-passing, since if they just focus on getting the ball up on their first opportunity, that fixes some things. As Coach Erik Spoelstra has said, the main thing is getting “shots on goal,” and when the shot attempts are 99-81 in a game, it’s hard to come out with a win.

And if there was any team where you’d feel better about the quantity of shots, instead of the quality, it would be this Heat team. They have plenty of offensive firepower to get them going, and that rhythm will ultimately carry over to their energy on the defensive end and the boards.

It just seems as if the unselfishness is the common factor between all of Miami’s issues. When Jimmy Butler began to be selfish offensively yesterday, it caused a huge Miami run to end the second quarter.

Jimmy Butler knows when it is time for him to be selfish, and that’s the trait that I believe is necessary for Bam Adebayo to pick up as well. There’s no reason for Daniel Theis to have more field goal attempts than Bam in a game like this. And once Miami’s young guys begin to realize being selfish is needed, things will begin to turnaround.

5 Takeaways from Miami’s Loss Against Boston

The Miami Heat faced off against the Boston Celtics, in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch, and Miami fell short after the late efforts from Duncan Robinson. After trailing by 10 with less than 2 minutes to go, Miami tied the game with 10 seconds left, but a Payton Pritchard tip in gave them the lead with 0.2 seconds left. Here are five takeaways from the game…

#1: Precious Achiuwa continues to show promising flashes.

For starters, Precious Achiuwa had the only positive plus-minus at the half, +10, while Bam Adebayo was a -18 at the half. The parts that truly stood out for Precious were on the defensive side of the basketball, particularly guarding Jayson Tatum. One of the league’s top pure scorers taking a rookie one-on-one seems to be an obvious result, but not when Precious Achiuwa is lined up across from him. He had two promising possessions where he altered Tatum’s jump shot, which is not an easy thing to do. His constant movement on defense is another thing that stands out when watching him play, while his offensive game will continue to develop. His ability to be a threat on the roll is enough impact right now, since it’s a huge bonus for Goran Dragic.

#2: Miami’s top 3 players look to be more effective when their minutes are staggered.

One thing that stood out when I watched tonight’s game against Boston was the lineups that included Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo. Automatically you’d think that lineup would be most effective since it includes your three best players, but I don’t know if that’s exactly the case. They seem to struggle when they share the floor together at times offensively, but why is that exactly? It could possibly be due to the uncertainty of who should take assertiveness. Most times when they share the court together, you begin to see an immense amount of over-passing. So does that mean these three guys are a bit too unselfish? I believe so. It’s only the seventh game, so that will change as the season progresses, but once playoff time hits I think they all know who the main aggressor will be.

#3: Boston takes advantage of Miami’s interior defense.

Boston began the game going 5/6 from three, which may have you looking at Miami’s defensive issues being out on the perimeter. But that wasn’t the case exactly. The Celtics began to take advantage of the paint area, especially when they were using their two big lineups with Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson. Now, that may have had something to do with their priority changing to the perimeter talents of Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown getting hot, but allowing easy bucket after easy bucket around the basket does not help your chances against a team like Boston. The Heat have gone to a bunch of small lineups that have included Jimmy Butler or Andre Iguodala at the 4, and it doesn’t help when Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk have less rebounds at the half than Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. The lack of defensive stops in the paint have resulted in Miami being a bottom tier rebounding team.

#4: There’s one reason for Miami’s run at the end of the second quarter and early third quarter: Jimmy Butler.

Miami went on a little run to end the second quarter, once Jimmy Butler seemed to take control of the offense. Then they went on an even bigger run to start the third quarter, which was headlined by Duncan Robinson. Although Duncan was hitting some much needed shots, it was all set up by the gravity of Jimmy Butler. He was having one of those nights where he was going to take it into your chest on his way to the basket, and that ultimately means more opportunities on the perimeter. There was one common factor during this run, Jimmy Butler was on the floor the entire team. The impact of Jimmy should not be understated, since his presence alone makes his teammates better.

#5: Andre Iguodala’s impact against good teams proves to be a huge positive moving forward.

Andre Iguodala hit some much needed threes throughout the game tonight, which is all Miami needs from him. If he can hit the corner three at a good rate, that is huge for Miami’s bench unit offensively. Andre also did a good job of facilitating as well, setting up their shooters late in the game consistently. The games Iggy is needed most is when he is playing against a top team like Boston. High IQ veterans who can control the pace of the game are needed in these types of games. And more importantly, it provides clarity of what will be seen in a playoff setting. Andre is an important piece of this Heat team, mostly since the chemistry of that bench unit continues to be on display.