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5 Takeaways from Heat’s Late Loss to OKC

The Miami Heat fell short to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 116-115. This game did not carry much importance for Miami, which is why Miami sat their star players in the second half. Here are 5 takeaways from this game…

#1: Duncan Robinson needs much more than a hand in his face to be stopped.

Duncan Robinson put on another three point shooting display on Wednesday night, which is definitely nothing new. Duncan scored 19 points in the first half with 5 threes. He was such an issue for the Thunder’s defense that Chris Paul began to try and get under Duncan’s skin. It’s hard to disrupt a focused Duncan Robinson, especially when you have a leader like Jimmy Butler on the floor who has your back. This was the first game of the bubble that the opposite team didn’t totally key on Duncan, which is why he flourished tonight. Teams are going to have to continue to blanket Duncan in order to have a chance, and that’s when he will need to display his on-ball skills that he showcased against Phoenix.

#2: Bam Adebayo’s early foul trouble may become problematic.

Bam Adebayo had three quick first quarter fouls to start today’s game, which also occurred a few games against the Milwaukee Bucks. Bam Adebayo talked about what he thinks Spo should do in these circumstances and said if the offense is flowing leave him out, but if not then put him in. And well, this is what happened tonight when Bam got his third foul. The offense was clicking as good as it has all season, which is why they kept him on the bench. This is something to keep an eye on as we approach the playoffs, since Miami can’t risk having Bam out of the game for extended minutes. This is the type of thing that could change a playoff game, but fouls are going to come up with an aggressive defender like Bam.

#3: Goran Dragic still rolling offensively.

Goran Dragic got the start yet again with Kendrick Nunn out, and continued to be lethal. Goran entering the starting lineup seemed to hurt the bench unit a bit last game, since there was no floor general to take control of the offense. But, this problem definitely didn’t occur with the starting lineup. The starting lineup with Goran at the point seems to flow much smoother, due to the offensive connection of Jimmy and Goran. They both have a winning mentality and trust each other with the ball in their hands, which is why Spo has continued to try and play them together. Goran scored 16 points in 20 minutes of play, along with six assists. He’s the type of guy that can do the small things offensively, and consequently win you some playoff games.

#4. Miami’s ball movement seemed smooth throughout.

Miami’s shooting has continued to be lethal from the outside, but it’s because of the play-making set ups. The ball movement in the first half was what put the Heat in such great position. Pick and rolls, fast-breaks, swinging around the key for a three. It was all on display tonight. Goran was at the forefront of this passing display, but even guys like Duncan Robinson were making passes that they usually don’t make. It may be a match-up that they like on defense which forced them to make quick passes. But, it seems as if it’s just an increase in comfortability. This team contains some of the most unselfish players in the league, which is the biggest proponent of solid ball movement. This will be essential in a first round match-up with the Indiana Pacers, who seem to be a bit banged up.

#5: Tyler Herro forming more and more into a fluid scorer.

All of the pure scorers in the league score in the same way. With ease. Tyler was scoring with ease tonight, just as he has been in his last three games, which he scored 30 points on 56% shooting. After entering the league with the expectation of being a catch and shoot guy, he’s doing the exact opposite. He has plenty of star level moves in his bag, and has been showcasing great touch around the rim, especially when using the backboard. He seems to be getting back the confidence that he had in the beginning of the season, which is what this team needs from him in the postseason. There’s not many guys on this roster that you trust more when creating your own shot. Which is why we may see some late game Tyler Herro clutch shots since he will be looked to in these situations, as we saw tonight.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Take-Down over Indiana Pacers

The Miami Heat played a much anticipated game against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, and got the win 114-92. After a tie game at the half, Miami came out sharp in the second half on both sides of the ball. Here’s five takeaways from this big win…

#1: Jae Crowder continues to be Heat’s most consistent player.

Due to the amount of lethal shooters on this roster, including Duncan Robinson, Jae Crowder seems to get left out of the conversation. But, he continues to be the Heat’s most consistent player on both sides of the floor, and is shooting 60% from three in the bubble. Jae Crowder is also one of those guys that does the dirty work for you, which obviously fits well into this system. This is why Jae made his way into the starting lineup and replaced Meyers Leonard, since versatility matters on this current team more than ever due to their depth in wings.

#2: Bench unit struggles with Goran Dragic moving to the starting lineup.

Goran Dragic got the surprising start in tonight’s game against the Pacers, but consequently caused a problem. Goran had such a groove with the second unit, which was one of Miami’s biggest strengths this season. When most teams had bench drop offs, Miami didn’t. But today, it was evident they did. When Goran exited the game, it wasn’t the same bench unit we’ve seen all season, which caused Indiana to comeback early. Goran came back into the game with the second unit in the second quarter, which seemed to settle Miami down on offense, and led to Miami’s second half display. Although there’s been questions about taking Kendrick Nunn out of the starting lineup all together, it may be better to continue this rotation and let Goran and Tyler run the offense smoothly with the bench unit.

#3: Derrick Jones Jr tries to lock up a spot in the rotation.

Derrick Jones Jr has been in and out of the Heat’s rotation this season, but this may be Derrick’s time to lock up his spot. He has proved that he can guard every team’s best player, but his offense has been in question. But today, he showed he can use his vertical spacing to his advantage. And he’s beginning to improve his shooting from beyond the arc, which if he can hit one to two threes in a playoff game, that can change a game. There also seemed to be a special connection between Derrick and Goran Dragic tonight, since about 80% of his points came from a Goran lob. Derrick has said time and time again that he wants to be here, but he will need to prove his impact during this last stretch before he goes into free agency.

#4: Bam Adebayo comes out aggressive out of the gate, which is essential.

Bam Adebayo started the first quarter with fire in his eyes when he had the ball in his hands. And with Myles Turner basically daring Bam to take a mid range jump shot, he took it with no hesitation, but it wasn’t falling. The thing is with Bam though, it doesn’t need to fall to help the offense. There are plenty of guys on the court who can hit these jumpers on offense, but they can’t open up the floor like Bam does. He also had a defensive motor tonight, which he brings every night, but it seemed to have a little more energy behind it, due to the Myles Turner match-up. Myles got the spot on the USA team over Bam, which obviously didn’t sit right with him. If Bam can bring this energy and aggressiveness every night, it benefits this team’s offensive versatilities even more.

#5: TJ Warren truly isn’t in Jimmy Butler’s league.

Everybody has been waiting for the TJ Warren-Jimmy Butler match-up since their scuffle back in January. Fast forward eight months later and Jimmy Butler still hasn’t forgotten. TJ Warren has been going on an absolute scoring tear in the bubble. Emphasis on scoring. Someone in Jimmy Butler’s league would have to be able to score, rebound, play-make, defend, and lead the way Jimmy does. Jimmy showcased this today scoring 19 points, along with 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Jimmy also mentioned after their game in January that “I can guard him and he can’t guard me.” Jimmy guarded TJ to start the game, while TJ guarded Jae Crowder, which definitely raises an eyebrow. This was also far from a meaningless game since Miami is trying to secure the four seed, which may ultimately mean a first round match-up against TJ Warren and the Indiana Pacers.

5 Post-Game Comments from Spoelstra, Herro, Adebayo

After another tough loss to the Phoenix Suns, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo talked about the game in a very positive way. This included a lot of high praise for their new starting point guard, Tyler Herro. Here’s what was said…

Post-Game Comment #1:

Tyler Herro has been playing shooting guard since his arrival into the NBA, since that is his main position. But, the Heat have seemed to want Tyler to expand his role into a primary point guard. Tyler says, “I felt comfortable.” That’s the most important trait for a point guard, especially one who hasn’t played much point previously. He also mentions that he’s been working on this aspect of game during the break. Spoelstra also says that he thinks Tyler did a solid job today, which may ultimately mean he will have that starting spot for good.

Post-Game Comment #2:

Bam Adebayo was asked about the Heat’s most important part of the team that needs to be fixed. He says, “Knowing how to win in close games.” This is definitely much harder to do without your best player on the court. Both Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic have been huge in second halves of games this season, since they slow the game down for the young guys on the team. As time goes on, Bam and Tyler will begin to pick up on things at ends of games, which is the best thing for this team in the long run.

Post-Game Comment #3:

Coach Erik Spoelstra talked about the improvements Bam has made and some things he already has instilled. He says, “Getting Bam to play winning basketball is not high, because he does that.” He seems to have the ultimate trust in Bam, but it seems as if Bam doesn’t have that same trust in himself at times. Bam always is reluctant to shoot the mid-range, which is something players and coaches have been urging him to do. He also gets slightly passive at ends of games, which when you’re the team’s best player on the court, you need to look to score. Bam also made a huge play at the end of the game which was a block that was called a goal tend, but Spoelstra thinks otherwise.

Post-Game Comment #4:

Tyler Herro expands on his ball handling conversation with some information on how this came about. Tyler says, “I’ve always had the ball in my hands, in high school, and in college some.” This is definitely true that Tyler was the point guard in high school, but he was a straight scoring point guard. He says this time in earlier years has helped him grow, and feels he can impact the game in other ways that shooting. He mentions it’s very tough to balance play-making and scoring, and says “I’m sure I missed some guys open tonight.” Even if he did miss some open guys, it doesn’t matter when you’re a 20 year old rookie with the amount of natural skills in his arsenal.

Post-Game Comment #5:

The Heat had some leeway with their seeding at the beginning of the bubble games, but after a few losses, these Indiana match-ups matter much more. Bam says, “This is bigger than (TJ) or Jimmy. We want to get in the playoffs and make a run.” This team is no longer worried about the petty fights that occured earlier in the season, it’s now time to win. Spoelstra talks about this Indiana match-up with the same exact mindset, saying “You know us, it’s who we are,” when referring to approaching these games with a winning mentality. This is not to say Jimmy won’t rise up to the occasion for this match-up, which very well may happen, but this team is much more concerned about falling to 6 than fighting with TJ Warren.

5 Takeaways from Suns Victory Over Short-Handed Heat Team

The Miami Heat played yet another game short-handed against the Phoenix Suns, due to Jimmy Butler, Goran Drgaic, and Kendrick Nunn being out. Miami fell short to Phoenix, 119-112, even with big games from the Heat’s young projects. Here are some takeaways from this game…

#1: Duncan Robinson uses team’s offensive shortage to expand his game.

Duncan Robinson seems to be one of the keys to every game the Heat play, but this was a different Duncan. I previously mentioned him expanding his game on the ball in this game, due to the fact that three of Miami’s four best scorers were out. Duncan definitely has some tricks in his bag that don’t involve catching and shooting, but he hasn’t been able to showcase them much. Tonight, he showed his ability to attack the basket, which seemed to catch the Suns off guard since it definitely wasn’t on the scouting report. People also forget that this is basically Duncan’s rookie year, which means he has plenty of time to develop this side of his game.

#2: Gabe Vincent utilizes minutes to try and earn rotation spot, but showcases another aspect.

With Kendrick Nunn away from the team at the moment, Tyler Herro was called up to the starting lineup and consequently lead to Gabe Vincent minutes off of the bench. This gave Gabe the opportunity to prove he can get minutes on this team, especially with Kendrick’s recent struggles. Although Gabe struggled shooting the ball from deep, which is his strength, he proved the other parts of his game are just as strong. He seemed to be a good play-maker, a high basketball IQ, and most importantly solid defense. These are some things that have been in question for Kendrick Nunn over the last few games, which may ultimately lead to yet another lineup change.

#3. Miami using new strategy, which is attacking team’s best player.

The Heat have seemed to try out a new offensive strategy through these few bubble games, which has been to get the other team’s best player in foul trouble. They have continued to attack early in games over the last week, which lead to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Marcus Smart early foul trouble. They also tried to attack Devin Booker early in today’s game, but it evidently didn’t lead to fouls. This may not be a bad idea to do, especially with the amount of physical offensive players on this roster. This also points to another advantage for the Heat over the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s been pretty easy to get 76er’s star Joel Embiid in foul trouble this year, which may ultimately be their game plan in a series against him. This may be something to keep your eye on over the course of Miami’s next few games.

#4: Tyler Herro tries to match his player comparison, Devin Booker.

Tyler Herro has continually been compared to Devin Booker, which is as good of a comparison as you can get. Tyler has said that he tries to model his game after him, and has watched a lot of film of him over the break. And with Tyler being the starting point guard tonight, he was looked at to try and match Devin Booker’s scoring, which is far from an easy task. But, Tyler Herro did just about that. He showed a lot of Devin Booker flashes scoring the ball with 25 points, but really stepped up as the point guard. He continues to showcase different ball-handling packages and most importantly his play-making, which he ended the game with 10 assists. He seems to be very comfortable at this position now, even more comfortable than Kendrick looked at the point. Tyler used this as a statement game to prove he will be the starting point guard on this team for a long time to come.

#5: Bam Adebayo’s offensive motor more important now than ever.

After Bam talked about his body not responding as quickly as it usually does during a media session yesterday, there were a lot of questions about him in today’s game. But, he began to make that jump that was much needed in a game without three of your offensive talents. He also seemed confident in his jump shot from 15 feet early in the first, which seemed Chris Bosh-esque, but it just wasn’t falling. This lead to the basket attacking Bam Adebayo that Heat fans have been waiting for in the second quarter. This included some post-moves, finishing at the rim, and a pair of And-1 plays. With all of the elite shooting on this roster, Bam is key to open up the floor for all of their shooters. Once Bam becomes a consistent offensive problem for other teams, this will elevate this Heat team to the next level.

Miami Heat’s Adebayo, Nunn Among NBA Award Finalists

The NBA released their top 3 finalists for each NBA award today, which included Miami’s Kendrick Nunn and Bam Adebayo. These awards are given based on the player’s play before the NBA shut down, which was when Heat players were rolling. Here’s the award finalists, along with some predictions.

Most Valuable Player Finalists: Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, and James Harden

There was not much of a surprise here, since these three guys have been the best players of the 2020 season statistically. But, this award is not a statistical award. The reason for the award was to reward the player who was the most “valuable” to their team. For example, players like Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler have been two of the most valuable pieces this season due to their leadership to elevate their respective teams. This is not to say that these guys shouldn’t be the finalists, since Lebron and Giannis have lead their teams to the number one seed in their respective conferences. Giannis should have the slight edge over LeBron for reasons that include: a better record, not having a top 5 second option, and a case could be made a harder conference. But, if this award is just based on statistics, maybe it’s best to change the award to Best Statistical Player.

Prediction: Giannis Antetokounmpo

 

Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, Kendrick Nunn

It was pretty clear that Ja Morant and Zion Williamson would be numbers one and two on this ballot, but some questioned the third slot. Kendrick Nunn was the second best rookie in the league before Zion Williamson made his NBA debut, and he was still up their with these guys after his return. Some of Kendrick’s latest play has forced people not to remember his offensive success early in the season, mostly because it’s been about 12 months since the season first began. And as mentioned in the tweet above, he hasn’t had the easiest route to where he is now. Although he’s been great for Miami this season, he didn’t carry the same load that a guy like Ja Morant did, which gives him the slight edge.

Prediction: Ja Morant

 

Most Improved Player: Bam Adebayo, Brandon Ingram, Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic being considered a most improved player surprised some people, but it really isn’t that crazy. Luka went from 21 points a game to 29 points a game, and increased his assist and rebound average by 3 and 2 respectively. But, he hasn’t made the same improvements that Bam Adebayo and Brandon Ingram did. The reason the Ingram and Adebayo race is so close is because their games are totally different. Ingram is a natural scorer while Bam is an all around player. This is another award that the NBA seems to always look in the PPG column, when in reality it’s about total improvements. Bam has went from a back up center to a top 5 center in the NBA, and has played a major role on a contender while Ingram wasn’t even a contender for an eight seed until he had the help of Zion Williamson. Based on an all around improvements, Bam Adebayo clearly has the edge over Brandon Ingram and Luka Doncic.

Prediction: Bam Adebayo

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert

While these three players have clearly been at the front of this award all season, there are some other names that should’ve been considered as well. Ben Simmons and Bam Adebayo are two players that were most likely close behind, since they play both interior and perimeter defense at such a high level. These finalists do this as well, which is why it’s basically a toss up of who you choose. Giannis Antetokounmpo will probably take this award home, due to his strength, quickness, and length on the defensive side. If you asked NBA players who they wouldn’t want to go against out of these three, it would probably be Giannis unanimously, since he’s just a 7 foot athletic freak of nature.

Prediction: Giannis Antetokounmpo

 

Sixth Man of the Year: Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, Lou Williams

For starters, how can two people from the same team be considered a “sixth” man. Especially when the stats are so close between a bunch of different bench pieces, including Goran Dragic, how does he get the edge. Not saying he hasn’t been great, because if there was a seventh man award, I’d give it to him. Anyway, Goran Dragic has had as good of a year as both Lou and Dennis had, except Goran’s had to carry much more of a load. Not saying Goran should win the award, but a top three finish should’ve been awarded. And between Lou and Dennis, Dennis should have the edge over Lou Williams this year, due to both efficiency reasons and, as said in the tweet above, not having another bench anchor with him.

Prediction: Dennis Schroder

5 Main Comments from Media Availability with Spoelstra, Dragic, Adebayo

The Miami Heat had an early practice on Friday, a day after a loss to the best team in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. There’s also some injury statuses in question as we get closer and closer to the post-season. Here’s what was said on the call…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Since Miami is set to play Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns, Erik Spoelstra spoke a little about him. He said, “We really liked him.” This was referring back to the 2015 draft where Miami had a chance to select Devin at pick 10. Erik also adds, “His game has grown.” The Miami Heat have definitely seen his game continue to grow, which is why they wouldn’t pass on this type of player twice. Tyler Herro has also been looking closely into Devin’s game, since he watches a great amount of film on him. Devin Booker is what all Heat fans want Tyler Herro to become, which can hopefully make up for the 2015 draft decision.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Erik Spoelstra also talked about the recent struggles from point guard Kendrick Nunn. He said, “He just needs more time, similar to Bam.” He also adds that it takes time to regain your rhythm and reminds everybody of how good Kendrick was playing before the break. Something that should be taken into account with these struggles is the recent virus that they contracted. There is still so much unknown to it, that it may impact their bodies even though they were asymptomatic. Bam also mentioned that his body isn’t responding as quickly as it usually does. If this is the case, Kendrick Nunn may be given the ultimate trust from this coaching staff to bounce back from this shooting slump. And as Spoelstra said, “We need him because he provides something that is different.”

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Goran Dragic also spoke with some media about his injury status. He said, “I was a little bit concerned, it was painful, I did it twice in that game…It’s day by day.” Although this team needs Goran Dragic on the floor to be successful, the most important thing is that he is totally 100%. It’s already a risk to play a 34 year old on a back to back, especially when they play a ton of minutes. Goran also mentions that he started shooting today and it’s a little sore, but he thinks he’s going in the right direction. With this injury information pretty clear, there’s still some other unknown injuries on this team, including Heat’s star Jimmy Butler.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Bam Adebayo talked about yesterday’s foul situation and if he’d like to play through it. He said, “It depends on the situation and the game flow.” He says that if they are in a good rhythm than he would encourage the team to let him play through it, but in a situation like yesterday, “It’s a hard decision.” On a night where Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic are out, you need an offensively active Bam Adebayo, But since he got in foul trouble early, it definitely turned the tide. Bam Adebayo seems to thrive with his co-star, Jimmy Butler, out on the floor, which is why there shouldn’t be too much worry about this situation.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Erik Spoelstra made a decision at the beginning of this NBA restart, which was taking Meyers Leonard from a starter to out of the rotation. Spoelstra said, “These are tough situations…I had to treat that situation with an open mind.” This decision seemed to be made for versatility reasons. This team’s roster is filled with versatile wings that can defend, which has seemed to fix the defensive problems. But, it definitely was surprising that he wouldn’t be getting any minutes off of the bench. He also mentions that Meyers “helped us win” this season, but feels this is best for them right now. He says he’s open to change if necessary as time progresses.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Win Against the Boston Celtics

The Miami Heat were coming off of a tough loss against the Toronto Raptors, but rallied against Boston to get the win, 112-106. Jimmy Butler did not play today due to ankle soreness, but the team rose up to the occasion. Here’s my 5 takeaways from this game…

#1: Tyler Herro appears to be back to himself.

Tyler Herro has struggled a bit shooting the ball during his time in the bubble. This all shifted today when Tyler finally found his rhythm. I’ve said many times that Tyler’s game revolves around his shooting early in the game, due to confidence. Once Tyler sees the ball go through the net, he’s very hard to stop. Another big improvement that was seen in Tyler’s game today was his defense. He continues to showcase his active hands, quick feet, and natural instincts on the defensive end. Definitely not too bad for a guy that’s only 20 years old.

#2: Derrick Jones Jr elevates Miami’s defense.

Derrick Jones Jr has been one of the most effective defenders on this Heat team, and the absence of Jimmy Butler improved his minutes. Derrick is definitely a card that Erik Spoelstra will use if they were to face off against Boston in the playoffs. His main assignment was to guard the Celtic’s star Jayson Tatum, and he did this pretty well. He forced Tatum into shooting 2/5 in the first half, which is not an easy task. If Derrick had the help of Jimmy Butler on defense to guard Kemba Walker, this would disrupt Boston even more.

#3: Bam Adebayo needs to trust his offensive game more.

Bam Adebayo seemed to be as present as Jimmy Butler was early in the first quarter. But that slowly changed after Bam realized the importance of his offensive game. He began to use his strength, which is his athleticism around the rim. This lead to Bam’s 21 points, along with 18 free throw attempts. This was his career high in free throw attempts. This may be because this bubble format has increased the amount of foul calls, which is why Bam will need to attack the basket just as his teammate, Jimmy Butler, does. After showcasing his offensive dominance, Bam will need to continue to trust his scoring abilities as much as Heat fans do.

#4: Without Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic is essential.

Due to the absence of Jimmy Butler, it hurts their amount of play-making leaders on the roster. This is why Goran Dragic was going to be looked to in this match-up, even on a back-to-back which definitely doesn’t benefit him. Goran’s success scoring the ball today was all strategy. He was facing a tough defensive match-up off of the bench, in Marcus Smart, but he prioritized and took advantage of switches, which lead to many Goran Dragic iso’s on Boston’s bigs. Goran was a little shaken up on the final play of the game with an apparent ankle injury, and went to the locker room. With the hopes of a healthy Goran Dragic, the duo of him and Jimmy Butler will be a scary site for teams in fourth quarters come playoff time.

#5: The Boston match-up may not be as scary as it seems.

The Miami Heat have pretty much dominated every top team in the East this season, except the Boston Celtics. This is why this win feels so much better for the Heat than any other game of this regular season restart. And of course, they were without their star Jimmy Butler. The reason that Miami has struggled with Boston is because of match-ups. But well, the match-ups didn’t seem to be a problem today. This may be because of the lineup change of Jae Crowder for Meyers Leonard, which adds much more versatility and matches up with Boston’s wings. Kelly Olynyk also entered the starting lineup, who has been very impressive in the bubble. After this win, Miami definitely feels a lot better about themselves tonight than they did yesterday.

5 Post-Game Comments from Spoelstra, Adebayo, Dragic

After the Miami Heat had a tough loss to the Toronto Raptors, they talked with some media about the game. There seems to be one common mistake that they all think came up. Here’s what was said…

Post-Game Comment #1:

Spoelstra begins talking about the number one thing on people’s minds. Duncan Robinson. Spoelstra said that Duncan will need to figure out how to work through this. This definitely is true, but it’s difficult when the offense runs through your three point shot. This will cause Spo to adjust the offense into a different direction when this occurs. Another thing Spoelstra mentioned is that he thinks this will ultimately help Duncan in the long run. As mentioned before, this defensive scheme is going to come up a lot in a playoff series, once teams realize his importance. Hopefully he can develop his game on ball, which will ultimately help his game off the catch and shoot.

Post-Game Comment #2:

Goran Dragic talks about where the game went wrong and how to fix it. He said, “We were down 17, and we came back.” This comeback was all lead by Goran himself, since he seemed to be one of the only ones that could get his offensive game going. He also mentions that although they came back, they need to be careful how they got down by 17. This seemed to just be because of Miami’s inefficient shooting today. They looked pretty crisp on defense throughout, but went through long stretches without scoring the ball, which was evidently where the game got lost.

Post-Game Comment #3:

Goran Dragic also touched on Duncan Robinson’s inability to get his offensive game going. He said, “For us, it’s about us figuring how to get Duncan more open shots and get the ball in the paint.” This seems to lead back to the same conclusion as before. Adjustments. If they want to get him open looks, they’re going to need to take advantage of the other parts of the offense, which is something they didn’t do today. Goran also says he felt that they got open shots in the first half, but just couldn’t make them. He said that ended up affecting their defense in the first half, which expanded the lead to 17. These are definitely easy things to fix, but will need to lock back in for a tough game against Boston tomorrow.

Post-Game Comment #4:

Bam Adebayo gave some pretty straight up answers today in his media availability. He said, “We gotta execute, that’s the bottom line.” The problem with the execution today was in the first half. They looked to clean it up in the second half, but still wasn’t what they’re happy with. Bam definitely needs to be more active on offense in games like this, since he’s a major part of this team. He definitely was huge for Miami with his perimeter defense on smaller guards, but needs to be more confident in his mid-range. Bam also wasn’t too happy when he saw Duncan only took 4 shots. He kept emphasizing that this needs to be fixed and will look to get Duncan more shots.

Post-Game Comment #5:

Goran Dragic also got to talking about the most crucial play in the game. The final one. He says, “We want to be in this situation,” when discussing the dive pick and roll with Jimmy Butler. This is obviously a play that they’ve went over a bunch in practice, but ultimately wasn’t the best decision against this team. With the Raptors scrappiness and active hands, there’s no need to force a pass like that. You ultimately want a guy like Jimmy Butler or Tyler Herro with the ball, since they can create for themselves. It was also an interesting move not to have Duncan in the game on the play, even if he was to just be a decoy. These situations will definitely be critiqued over the next few weeks, since Spoelstra will need to get late game possessions corrected for the playoffs.

5 Main Comments from Post-Game Media Scrum with Spoelstra, Butler, Adebayo

After the Heat’s impressive win against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, a joyful Heat team talked with some media about the game and their chances going forward. Here’s what they had to say…

Post-Game Comment #1:

Jimmy Butler seemed pretty happy with how the team played in their first official game back, especially in the second half. Jimmy said, “We didn’t play our style in the first half.” It was pretty clear that they began to play their style in the second half, when they began to knock down their threes and most importantly attack the basket. This evidently lead to getting to the free throw line, which is definitely Jimmy’s “style.” He also mentioned that they had the mentality of not being complacent. It’s pretty tough to be complacent on this roster with the amount of leadership on the floor.

Post-Game Comment #2:

Bam Adebayo seemed pretty confident in this Heat team’s chances after the game. Bam said, “I feel we can go against everybody.” This attitude seems pretty familiar. Jimmy Butler had said that he felt they can win a championship a few days ago. And that’s because they play on a team with a winning mentality. It is true that they can go against anybody, but they will only go as far as Bam Adebayo takes them. If he plays the way he did today, they’ll be a tough out in this year’s playoffs.

Post-Game Comment #3:

After another offensive display by Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler talked a little about his impact. Jimmy said, “We told Duncan it’s okay to dribble the ball once or twice.” This was pretty clear in today’s game. Duncan seemed much more comfortable in all of the other aspects of the game. His passing improved, his shot-creating improved, and even cut to the basket more times than normal. Jimmy also said that he’s “not just a shooter,” which is something that’s been taken for granted this season. Jimmy ends with “I’m glad he’s on my team.”

Post-Game Comment #4:

Bam Adebayo talked about their defensive strategy when he was on the floor with Jae Crowder. He said, “It became a hassle for the other team.” This was one of the major reasons that their perimeter defense was much better today. After Coach Spo started Jae Crowder over Meyers Leonard, it added much more versatility, and clearly helped Bam Adebayo on the defensive end. Bam also talked about his conditioning in the game. He said, “I did get a little winded,” which will slowly improve the more games they play.

Post-Game Comment #5:

Coach Spo talked about Meyers Leonard regarding a couple of different topics. He began saying, “This is one game. I have not forgotten about Meyers.” He will definitely be utilized based on different match-ups, especially against Brook Lopez and the Milwaukee Bucks. Spo also talked about Meyers standing for the National Anthem. He said, “He has the backing of everyone in the locker room. Everyone knows where his heart is.” Meyers has repeated supported this movement throughout the process and will continue to do so, but will clearly do it in a way that he feels comfortable.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s win against the Denver Nuggets

The Miami Heat faced off against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday afternoon, which was the first official game of the NBA restart for Miami. The Heat came away with the win 125-105, while the Heat seemed to clean up all of their offensive and defensive issues. Here’s my 5 takeaways from this Heat win…

#1: Bam Adebayo displays his offensive importance.

Bam Adebayo is a clear defensive minded player, which we’ve seen against all types of match-ups all season. But, he showed his offensive importance in today’s game against Nikola Jokic the best way he knows how to. Attacking weaknesses. Bam began to attack the basket on Jokic to start the game, since he lacks on the defensive end. This isn’t all he did for the Heat on offense though. He’s the most important player on the team without the ball in his hands. His off ball screens, on ball screens, and cutting to the basket was all on display today. He’s also an offensive player that is impacted by confidence. When he gets going early, it’s pretty much a wrap for his opponent on defense.

#2: Duncan Robinson continues to be much more than a shooter.

It’s pretty obvious Duncan is one of the league’s best three point shooters. But, he continues to show the improvements in the other aspects of the game, especially his passing. Bam Adebayo has played a major role in the improvements in his play-making. Bam and Duncan have been deadly off of dribble hand-offs this season, but they are starting to expand this scheme even more. After defenders have learned not to leave any space between Duncan Robinson, he has learned to not only make the pass to Bam, but sell the shot. This is the first time he’s showcased this side of his game, since he’s getting much more comfortable with his shot faking. Now the only thing left for him to improve is on the defensive side of the ball.

#3: Heat’s efficient free-throw shooting holds more importance than usual.

The biggest thing you can takeaway from this game is the amount of foul calls. This is most likely due to the no fans aspect, since referees can hear everything on the floor. And well, this seems to favor Miami. Jimmy Butler has had no problem attacking the basket and getting to the line all season, but what was key today is the fact that he was knocking them down. The Heat went 32/37 from the free throw line, which seems to be much more important than usual. And when the game slows down even more in the playoffs, we may see even more foul calls, especially with the many physical players on this Heat roster.

#4: Erik Spoelstra’s tinkering with Heat’s rotation pays off. 

It was a bit of a surprise that Erik Spoelstra took Meyers Leonard out of the rotation for Jae Crowder, since that starting lineup had such success this season. But, it seemed to payoff since Crowder hit some big shots in the third quarter, which played a major role in expanding the lead. Spoelstra also seems to play guys that perform well together. This includes Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson, and Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. This is why those scrimmage games were so important for Miami. It gave Erik Spoelstra a sample of what to expect in this environment and forced him to adjust, which is something he does better than any coach in the league.

#5: Miami shows improvements with perimeter defense.

The Heat have known that their biggest issue this season has been perimeter defense. But, they seemed to polish this up a bit today against Denver. The Nuggets shot 8/35 from deep, which definitely makes the Heat feel good after those sloppy scrimmage games. This may be due to the rotation change that Spoelstra made, replacing Meyers Leonard with Jae Crowder. The more versatility on the floor, the less your defense will struggle. Even Duncan Robinson showed some good defensive stretches throughout this game. These defensive improvements may have a little something to do with the lack of shooting in the rotation for Denver, due to Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and Will Barton not playing. Either way, this gives this Heat team confidence and momentum heading into three straight games against the top 3 teams in the East.