News

5 Post-Game Comments from Spoelstra, Crowder, Robinson, Butler

The Miami Heat took a 2-0 lead today, after a big win in game 2 against the Pacers. There seemed to be a mutual topic in each player’s media session, Jimmy Butler. Here’s what was said…

Post-Game Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra was asked about the second half aggressiveness of both Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler. He started off saying that it’s mainly because they are both “veteran leaders.” He then began to talk about Jimmy Butler’s importance, saying “Everyone knows why we got Jimmy Buter, it’s for these kinds of moments.” It’s pretty clear that this is why the Miami Heat brought Jimmy in, but this is finally the time it can be showcased. And Jimmy has not shed away from showing it, after having two big games to start the series. But, he impacted both games in different ways. One by completely taking over by scoring, and the other by every aspect. This whole team is 100% invested in their leader Jimmy Butler.

Post-Game Comment #2:

Jimmy Butler used a phrase that he’s been talking about a lot lately. He said, “As long as we keep fighting like the dogs that we are, we’ll come out on top.” Not only has Jimmy continually spoke about the amount of “dogs” on this roster, he also continually talks about “coming out on top.” The thing about this is that he truly believes. Actually, the whole team believes it. They have an absolute different mentality than these other teams, which gives them the edge they need.

Post-Game Comment #3:

Jimmy Butler also talked about what is so different about the Heat. He responded, “They let me be me…to cuss people out.” He then talked about nobody taking it personal. Bam Adebayo talked about this yesterday as well, saying that he’s able to yell at Jimmy Butler and others since they all want to win. We saw this in today’s game when Bam wanted Tyler Herro to clear out, but he didn’t. Bam consequently made sure to let him know. But once again, nobody takes it personal. This is truly what separates this Heat team from the rest.

Post-Game Comment #4:

Jae Crowder also talked about the big topic of the day, Jimmy Butler. Jae said, “I’ve been with Jimmy in some of the biggest games of his life back in college.” Jae notes that this has been Jimmy’s mentality for a while now. He mentions “his level of play rises to the occasion.” This is indeed true, since Jimmy has struggled from three all season, but has become truly confident in taking them now. Many have questioned Jimmy Butler’s offensive ability, even approaching the post-season, but he’s showing them all that he’s a different breed in the playoffs.

Post-Game Comment #5:

Duncan Robinson quickly mentioned after the game that he had some elite shooters reach out to him over the hiatus, including Mike Miller and Reggie Miller. Obviously they aren’t giving Duncan huge pointers on how to shoot, but shooters like this have the important insight on the small things. And it seems as if Duncan has picked up on some things since returning, including a side step dribble and an eagerness to attack the basket. And since this is basically Duncan’s rookie year, he has much more time to develop his game even more.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Game 2 Win Over Pacers

The Miami Heat had their fair share of ups and downs in today’s game against the Indiana Pacers, but came away with the win 109-100. Consequently, Miami takes a 2-0 lead over Indiana, but instead of flying back home to Miami for game 3, they will be staying in Orlando. Here are five takeaways from this game…

#1: Bam Adebayo’s early foul trouble showcases his importance.

Bam Adebayo got called for two early fouls in the first quarter. He was consequently subbed out of the game, right after the Heat went on a huge offensive run to start the game. This seemed to put a huge halt on Miami’s offense, which is weird since Bam doesn’t seem to be an offensive powerhouse. The thing is that Bam does all of the small things for their offense. Picks, spaces the floor, etc. He had 0 points until mid-way through the third quarter, but made himself useful through his elite play-making skills. This also forced Miami to go small for an extended amount of time, since Derrick Jones Jr subbed in for Bam. These early foul troubles for Bam in the bubble is definitely something to keep your eye on, since you can’t risk not having Bam on the floor in a match-up against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.

#2: Heat’s offense seems to revolve solely around the shooting of Duncan Robinson.

Miami’s offense has clearly revolved around Duncan all season, and looks to be even more true in the bubble. This is what caused a huge Heat run to start the game, when Duncan hit three triples in the first two minutes. But once Indiana’s defense picked up on it, the offense became stagnant. Especially since a bunch of Miami’s usual go to scorers struggled early in the game. Duncan ended up hitting a fourth three in the second quarter, which was the start of another Miami run. He ended the game with seven three pointers, which gives Duncan a great amount of confidence after last game’s struggles. This just further proves the amount of pressure Duncan has to elevate this offense. But if anyone is capable of doing it, it’s Duncan Robinson.

#3: Miami’s supporting cast steps up during tough stretches.

As talked about previously, Miami’s usual scorers struggled in the first half of today’s game. But, Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala hit some much needed shots in the first half, to get them out of this drought. Kelly Olynyk had 7 points and 6 rebounds in the first half, while Andre Iguodala did his part on the defensive end. The depth of this Heat team is one of Miami’s biggest advantages, which is why they will need guys like Kelly and Andre to elevate the team when things aren’t going their way. And as Spoelstra said about Kendrick Nunn and Meyers Leonard, these guys will be much needed down the line.

#4: The Heat’s crisp ball movement may have won them this game.

Jimmy Butler said before today’s game that although he scored 28 in game 1, he wants to be better in game 2 with getting the other guys involved. This seemed to be the goal for every player on the team though. Miami played some of the most unselfish basketball that they’ve played all season, which at times seemed a bit excessive. For example, Duncan forced a pass down low though he had an open three, and Jimmy passed out to Herro for a three though he had a wide open layup. The point is that this type of play could win them many tight games, since most teams don’t play this way. Most teams have a go to scorer that they look to in close playoff games. Miami’s primary play-makers, in Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, are going to play this way no matter what, since they continually say this is the way to win.

#5: Goran Dragic is officially the second half killer.

It seemed to be a repeat of game 1 for Goran Dragic. A slow start in the first half, followed by a second half scoring display. It may be because a 34 year old needs some time to get going. Or maybe he saves himself for the second half. Either way, Goran continues to be a huge offensive spark for this team. He’s one of the only players on the team who can consistently create their own shot, and hit it consistently. It also seems as if the hiatus has helped Goran as much as anybody in the bubble. This time off has made Goran much more explosive for playoff time than he would have been normally. Goran finished the game with 20 points, while playing as good as ever.

5 Post-Practice Comments from Spoelstra, Adebayo, Robinson

Erik Spoelstra, Bam Adebayo, and Duncan Robinson talked with some media today after practice. Erik talked a little about people’s opinions on Bam, which led to Bam speaking about it as well. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra seemed to want to get this off of his chest when regarding people’s opinions on Bam. He said that all of the people outside of the organization who give their opinion can “stick it up you know where.” He also mentions that people continually talk about how aggressive he needs to be, but “he is doing the right things for our team.” Spoelstra has always been a coach that puts full trust in certain players. Bam is one of them. He knows how much Bam wants to win, and what he will do to help this team win. It doesn’t have to be a scoring display either, since one of Bam’s biggest things is bringing the amount of energy he brings every night.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Erik Spoelstra gives a quote that fits their current situation perfectly. He said, “The goal is bigger than the role right now.” This was referring to Kendrick Nunn going from starter to out of the rotation, just as Meyers Leonard did. Spoelstra also mentioned that he will need the depth of this team as they go along, saying “You have to be ready for anything in the playoffs.” And if anybody will be ready for anything thrown their way, it’ll be Erik Spoelstra. He continually recognized the importance of Kendrick Nunn this season, and said that these are not easy decisions. But, says they must stay ready, which “K-Nunn is mentally tough enough to understand that.”

Post-Practice Comment #3:

Bam Adebayo seemed to like Erik Spoelstra’s comment on people’s opinions about him. Bam said, “In October, nobody even knew who I was.” He then mentioned that now everybody wants to tell him how he should do things. He then talked about how much he respects Erik Spoelstra’s comments, since all Erik wants from him is to impact winning. While many people discuss the relationship of Jimmy Butler and Erik Spoelstra being so strong, Bam’s relationship with Erik is just as strong. This is because all three of them share a mutual mindset on the game of basketball. A winning mindset.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Duncan Robinson talked about Indiana’s defense targeting him throughout game 1 of the playoffs. He said, “I definitely give them some credit, but I still feel I’m able to be impactful in this series.” He’s definitely seen this quite a few times during his time in the bubble, but he’s never had to face a team this many times in a row. But with Erik Spoelstra’s creative adjustments and Duncan’s ability to make a defense uncomfortable, they should be able to overcome this situation. The last time Duncan was being blanketed against Toronto, he came out the next game with a purpose to attack the basket. Don’t be surprised if you see Duncan being more active with the ball in his hands in game 2 tomorrow.

Post-Practice Comment #5:

Bam Adebayo seemed to be much more aggressive with the ball in his hands in the second and third quarters than he was in the first yesterday. Bam discussed why he thinks this is. He basically said once guys get glued to their man after guys like Duncan get going, it opens up the floor to take guys off the dribble. This definitely was the case yesterday, since after Goran and Tyler began to score, he took initiative to take Myles Turner to the basket. This also led to a Bam Adebayo mid-range jumper, which opens it up for him even more. This further shows that although Duncan relies on Bam a lot on offense, Bam relies on Duncan just as much.

5 Overall Takeaways from Miami Heat’s Eight Seeding Games

The Miami Heat fell to 3-5 during their seeding games in the bubble, but this record does not show the amount of positive signs that was shown from their young players. As we now approach the beginning of the NBA playoffs, here’s a look back at what I took away from the regular season games in the bubble…

#1: Duncan Robinson clearly elevates the offense to another level.

It was pretty obvious that Duncan Robinson was an elite shooter before the NBA got postponed, but these bubble games showcased another side of him. He was a sensational catch and shoot guy all season, but now that he’s such an offensive problem for other defenses, they throw everyone they can at him. This allowed Duncan to develop things such as a shot-fake, off-balance threes, and even some drives to the basket. This consequently takes the offense to another level. If Duncan becomes even more comfortable with his abilities to penetrate once teams are flying out on him, this opens up the floor for everybody else, especially Bam Adebayo.

#2: Goran Dragic may be the starter by game 1 of the playoffs.

Goran Dragic has clearly been on point over his time in the bubble, since he’s had absolutely zero problems scoring the ball. And with Kendrick Nunn’s recent struggles, it’s looking more and more like Goran Dragic will be the starter by game 1. Goran got some run in with the starting lineup when Kendrick was out, and the lineup absolutely thrived. The problem was that there was no veteran Goran off of the bench. This clearly hurt their second unit, since guys like Tyler Herro and Derrick Jones Jr both flourish with Goran on the floor. It’s also been clear that Miami needs Goran or Jimmy on the floor at all times to be successful, and with this starting lineup, there will be stretches without them on the floor. If Goran continues this hot streak in the playoffs, this will definitely be a tough offense to stop.

#3: Tyler Herro takes huge leap in the bubble.

There seemed to be quite a lot of doubt on Heat’s rookie Tyler Herro when he struggled in the three scrimmage games. But, he completely turned this around once the games started to count, especially on the back stretch of these games. He came into the league with the idea that he’d be a catch and shoot guy. But this isn’t even close to being his best overall attribute. During the hiatus, he worked on his ball-handing skills a lot, which is very important since he’s become one of Miami’s primary play-makers. And speaking of play-making, his display of passing during this time has clearly shown he will be the starting point guard of this team very soon. His biggest problem has been on the defensive side, and he’s even had a bunch of great defensive stretches. His quick feet, active hands, and great instincts have given this team even more hope on the future of Tyler Herro.

#4: Bam Adebayo saving himself for the post-season.

Bam Adebayo has been pretty solid for this team statistically in the bubble, but this team knows he has another level. It’s up to Bam if he can shift gears in a playoff series, and take over on offense at times when they need him. He’s begun to get more and more comfortable with that elbow jump shot, but they just haven’t been falling. The coaching staff, his teammates, and the fans all want him to continue to be comfortable taking it, since they will begin to fall eventually. His defense is never in question, since he seems to bring that every single night he plays. Bam has seemed to be pacing himself a bit over this stretch of games, which it appears to be him saving himself for a post-season breakout.

#5: Jimmy Butler got some time off, but now this is his time.

Jimmy Butler has not looked to be a primary scorer on this team all season. He instead uses his elite play-making and leadership to his advantage, which is definitely needed. But, in order for this team to make a playoff run, they’ll need Jimmy Butler to become the star that he is. The reason lower level teams always shrink in the playoffs is because they don’t have a go to guy when thing get rough. Miami has one, but he needs to know he is one. It seems as if Jimmy could drive to the basket and get a bucket or a foul on every possession, but he chooses to be the unselfish teammate that he is. In a playoff series though, he will need to be selfish at times, because that will translate to wins in close games. If Jimmy could step up as “the guy,” this team will be as tough as any other.

5 Dynamic Duos on Current Miami Heat Team

The Miami Heat are very different in a sense of their on court connections. Most teams have good lineups that they revolve their team around, but Miami has good duos. Each player on this team has their own running mate that they achieve the most offensive success with, which is why Coach Spo has begun to utilize these patterns. Here are 5 dynamic duos on this current Miami Heat team…

 

Duo #1: Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro

Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro seemed to hit it off the first day that they met. Tyler flew out to Chicago to hang out with Jimmy after he got drafted, and consequently earned Jimmy’s respect due to the amount of hard work he puts in. This has translated to their on-court connection as well, especially recently. Coach Spo has begun to bring Tyler off of the bench early, and leave Jimmy on the court to give them some run together. They seem to feed off of each other down the stretches of games as well. We saw this earlier in the season in a game against the Chicago Bulls, where Jimmy looked to Tyler Herro for a couple clutch three pointers down the stretch. And now that Tyler has improved his play-making abilities, they’ve been able to utilize this connection through back-door cuts, fast-breaks, and more. This duo has so much time to grow since they’ve only played together for half of a season. And with Tyler’s improving defense, this could be a scary duo for many years to come.

 

Duo #2: Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson

Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson have seemed to have a better connection than anybody else on the team, mostly because they are the sparks of their offense. They are the best in the league in dribble hand-offs, by far, mostly due to the lethal off balanced shooting of Duncan Robinson. Bam Adebayo needs credit as well, because he has really become better and better at good, hard screens. They’ve also been able to run some pick and roll stuff in these bubble games since Duncan is beginning to drive to the basket more and more, which only makes this combo more lethal. It also opens up their ability to run dribble hand-offs at a higher rate, since now they’ll have the option to run different things through it. These two know how deadly they are together as well, which is why you see them run the same hand-off four times in a row sometimes, just to get it right. If Bam can slowly develop his jump shot more and more, this could become one of the most unstoppable offensive plays.

 

Duo #3: Goran Dragic and Derrick Jones Jr

Now, this duo is beginning to develop right in front of our eyes. Goran Dragic and Derrick Jones Jr have become quite the combination during these last few games, mostly due to Goran’s intelligent passing and Derrick’s vertical spacing. Derrick has never been much of a scorer, but when Goran is in with him, he’s an absolute offensive threat. And when Goran utilizes his play-making ability, it translate to wins. The Heat are 8-0 this season when Goran has 8 or more assists, which clearly proves the previous statement. Derrick has also helped Goran’s scoring, since teams drop back off of the pick and roll with DJJ rolling, which gave Goran the ability to utilized his floater much more. Goran may have just secured DJJ a spot in the rotation as the playoffs get closer and closer.

 

Duo #4: Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk

This is yet another duo that Coach Spo has tried to play together as much as possible. Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder played together in Boston for three years, which is what sparked their on court connection. Jae Crowder has told media many times that Kelly’s versatility is what truly helps them work together, and when they put the ball in his hands with the second unit, it can trigger a lot of different sets. It seems to be pretty easy to work well together when you’re both lengthy and able to shoot, but this isn’t the best part of their chemistry. They both are on-court leaders, who are unselfish to make the right plays. Kelly Olynyk’s off ball movement down low is something that Jae always keeps track of in games. Although Jae is now in the starting lineup without Kelly, be prepared for a lot of extended stretches with them playing the 4 and the 5, since they are both players who can spark an offense with their shooting.

 

Duo #5: Erik Spoelstra and Andre Iguodala

The duo of Erik Spoelstra and Andre Iguodala obviously impacts the team in a much different way. They’ve also been together for a much shorter time than all of the others on this list. But, this hiatus has helped these two more than anybody else. It’s given them a chance to learn each other, and find the right fits for Andre on this team. The bubble is also another mechanism that has added to their off-court connection. And all of the off-court connections translate to on-court connections. Erik Spoelstra has always been a coach that rolls with guys that he trusts in tough situations, and Andre Iguodala is one of those guys. Andre obviously isn’t the most natural scorer, but he does everything else for your team that doesn’t show up in a stat sheet. He hasn’t gotten as much minutes over these last few regular season games as others, but that will change in the playoffs. Erik Spoelstra trusts Andre in these situations and Heat fans should too.

5 Post-Game Comments from Spoelstra, Robinson, Butler, Herro

The Miami Heat suffered a late loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder due to a three point shot from Mike Muscala for the win. The Miami Heat still seemed in good spirits since their starters didn’t play in the second half. Afterward, some players talked with local media about the game. Here’s what was said…

Post-Game Comment #1:

Jimmy Butler clearly wasn’t happy with Chris Paul’s actions early in the game, when he threw the ball at Duncan Robinson. Jimmy said, “You’re not gonna throw the ball at my teammate like that. Yeah I got a turnover, got an offensive foul.” It was pretty evident Jimmy charged Chris with a purpose after this altercation. Even though this play wasn’t a big deal, it shows the rest of the team his leadership. He wanted to show Duncan that he has his back no matter what, and also show Chris that he’s messing with the wrong team. Jimmy concludes the discussion with “You mess with one of my guys, then you gotta deal with me,” which further shows not to mess with Jimmy and this Heat team.

Post-Game Comment #2:

Duncan Robinson also touched on this Chris Paul incident, which media thought they’d get a clearer idea of what his reasoning was. Duncan responded, “I’m not exactly sure.” He says that he told himself he should’ve shot it in the corner when he shot faked, which caused a back and forth between the two. It’s evident that Duncan won’t back down from anything either. He may be thought of as the quiet shooter, but he will let you know when he gets his jumper going. He told Heat star Jimmy Butler to “never go under the screen” in their first practice together before the season after hitting a three pointer. If Duncan wasn’t afraid of his teammate Jimmy Butler before the season, he definitely won’t back down from any other opponent that’s thrown his way.

Post-Game Comment #3:

Jimmy Butler also got to talking about the topic of the night, Tyler Herro. Jimmy said, “I love that guy.” He continued to praise Tyler for the growth in his game that has especially been shown in these bubble games. His play-making, ball handling, and defense has continued to grow, which has caused Spo to show even more trust in him than usual. Jimmy has clearly taken Tyler under his wing from the start. He was talking to Tyler before the final shot of the game, which made it clear that it was a Herro jumper coming. When you earn Jimmy’s trust, you can earn anyone’s trust. He will be taking another big leap in the post-season after he gets some playoff experience under his belt, and will give the team an even clearer view of his future.

Post-Game Comment #4:

Jae Crowder had a rough injury occur in the first quarter, where he bumped knees with Luguentz Dort. He limped off the floor without putting pressure on it, but ended up on the sideline with the team soon after. Coach Spo said everything came back clean after the game, which may ultimately mean that Jae Crowder sits out in their final game against the Indiana Pacers to heal up. He should be ready by game 1 of the first round, which will be much needed since he’s been a huge piece to this Heat team on both sides of the ball this year.

Post-Game Comment #5:

And finally the money quote. It seems as if all of these guys continually talk about winning, and it’s because that is their ultimate goal. Jimmy said that Herro is always watching film and just clearly wants to be great. You can tell he wants to be great just by his on court improvements that were talked about previously. These other skill sets don’t just appear out of nowhere. Jimmy also said, “He wants to bring a championship to Miami and I think we’re going to do that.” The trio of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro have all mentioned their goal of winning a championship over the last week, which is a great sign of the state of mind these guys are in.

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 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.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Late Collapse Against Milwaukee

The Miami Heat played a tough game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday afternoon without Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic, and fell short 130-116. This game was clearly a tale of two halves, since Miami came out with fire in their eyes in the first half and became slightly complacent in the second half. Here’s my five takeaways from this game…

#1: Although a tough outcome, Miami should feel better than Milwaukee does.

The Miami Heat were going into a match-up with the best team in the NBA without two main pieces, Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic. But well, the team showed up in the first half. Emphasis on first half. They played at an elite level on both sides of the ball, which was pretty suprising. But, they slowly fell apart in the second half. It was evident this was because they did not have a go to guy on the floor. All of the best lineups this season included either Goran Dragic or Jimmy Butler. This is why Miami fans should feel pretty good about this game. Without veteran leadership on the court, it’s hard for guys to sustain a lead or close a game. With a healthy Jimmy and Goran, Milwaukee should hope that they don’t have to face this physical Heat team.

#2: Tyler Herro’s scoring wasn’t even his best attribute.

Tyler Herro exploded in the first half for 16 points, which lead to Miami’s huge lead. He proved that he can be good at many aspects of his game including his play-making, rebounding, and most importantly defense. His defense has been in question for quite some time along with his teammates Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn. But the difference with Tyler is that he continues to improve on defense every night. He played exceptional on-ball defense on the offensively talented guards and wings from Milwaukee’s roster. Tyler will need to clean up some mistakes with decision making that have consequently lead to turnovers, but the more he plays in games like this, the more he will learn.

#3: Miami’s wings prove to be the only viable Giannis stoppers. Well kind of.

The Heat began the game the same way they did in their two previous match-ups. Frustrating Giannis. Miami has pretty much showed that their plan against the Bucks is to contain Giannis, and let the supporting cast beat you. They continued to double team and draw fouls on Antetokounmpo, which lead to Miami’s huge lead. Miami’s ability to throw multiple bodies at Giannis is what separates them from the rest. They threw Bam, Crowder, Iguodala, and DJJ at him throughout, since this seems to be their only offense during tough stretches. But, you can only contain him so much. On a day that didn’t seem to go very well for Giannis, he still ended up with 33 points on 77% shooting. This will be a rough series for Giannis if they were to match-up, since he will have to outwork all of these guys 4 out of 7 times.

#4: Duncan Robinson is clearly an elite shooter, but finally overcoming tough defense. 

Duncan Robinson has not only been an outstanding three point shooter, but an absolute efficient one. There began to be uncertainty if teams would begin to figure out Duncan’s game, like Toronto did early in the week, but he’s beginning to overcome it. He continues to show that he will need much more than a hand in his face to not have a green light. He has been using a pump-fake and side step fadeaways much more comfortably than he did before the NBA restart. Duncan is beginning to realize how huge his offensive role is on this team, which is why Miami runs on Duncan.

#5: Kendrick Nunn may be slowly playing his way out of the starting lineup.

Kendrick Nunn has been such an intriguing young player this season since he was a natural scorer. But well, this hasn’t been the case as of late. In a game that was supposed to be his breakout game, without Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic, it still didn’t occur. He scored 14 points on 29% shooting, and still has not shown improvements on the defensive side of the ball. And with Tyler Herro’s continued scoring and defensive improvements, he may be getting closer and closer to that starting point guard spot. If Kendrick doesn’t fix this quick, Spoelstra will have to make the decision going forward, which may occur even faster than you may expect.

Tuesday Primer: Can the Heat free Robinson, get playmaking?

The Miami Heat are currently 1-1 in the NBA bubble after a blowout win against Denver and a close loss to Toronto. The Heat play the Boston Celtics tonight on the second night of a back to back. 

 

As the stakes are getting higher, teams are beginning to deploy special defensive schemes against the Heat. We saw this specifically by the Toronto Raptors against Duncan Robinson by running two players at him consistently and forcing him to pass the ball, in the rare occasions he got it at all. If the Heat were going to win that game, Raptors coach Nick Nurse made sure it wasn’t because Robinson torched them from the three.

 

This is just the beginning of the special attention Robinson will face moving forward. Robinson struggled to impact the game in other ways and was seemingly unproductive in 22 minutes of play time scoring 3 points on 1-5 shooting and grabbing 2 rebounds with a +/- of -1.  And he wasn’t in at the end.

When the playoffs begin, Robinson should expect even more attention from defenses to prevent him from getting good looks. Teams are scouting him and in a seven game series teams will adapt to Miami’s offense. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will undoubtedly unveil some new sets for Robinson to help him get better looks and to counter opposing defenses. 

 

But when opposing defenses are able to neutralize Robinson, it emphasizes the Heat’s lack of a true point guard and someone who can consistently create off the dribble other than Jimmy Butler. Rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro along with veteran Goran Dragic are the primary candidates to fill that need. Herro already gets fourth quarter minutes due to his ability to score, as well as make plays for others and handle the ball. Herro lives to play in the spotlight, so closing the end of games is what Herro wants. 

 

Nunn struggled against the Raptors too. He shot 0/7 from the field including 0/5 from the three, grabbed 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 points, a turnover in 16 minutes of action. Similarly to Robinson, Nunn often struggles to positively impact the game when he is not scoring. However, Nunn has more ball-handling skill and should be able to drive and create plays for others. His playmaking skills are still developing and he is not a true point guard, so it’s hard to expect solid playoff caliber point guard play from a rookie scorer. 

 

If Nunn continues to disappoint on the offensive end, we might see a change in the starting lineup — to Herro or Dragic. Herro came to the bubble showing an improved handle and ability to score off the bounce, especially when his shots were not falling. He continues to develop into a three level scorer which will be important in the playoffs. A change to the starting guard position might be the spark the starting unit needs in playoff games. However, this switch might disrupt the overall chemistry of the rotation. Unless Nunn, Herro, or both can show playmaking (and defensive) potential this year we should expect Miami’s front office to chase a strong 2 way guard this off season.

Miami will have a good test tonight against Boston, who has beat them twice already this season. 

The Boston Celtics are also 1-1 in the NBA restart and have played in two, down to the wire, high scoring games. Boston’s wings have been fantastic, but now with Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala, Spoelstra has more options to guard them. In their first matchup this season, wing Jaylen Brown went off for 31 points and in their second matchup Hayward and Brown combined for 54 points. And of course, the Celtics have Kemba Walker who, even on a minutes limit due to a sore knee, will be a serious test for Miami’s guards.