The Miami Heat entered the second quarter with 24 points on the scoreboard last night. Twelve minutes of game-time later, they were walking into the visiting locker room in Dallas with 70 points next to their logo.
Yeah, you can say they had an explosive quarter to say the least.
Miami shot 17 of 25 from the field in that stretch, which can also be displayed as 68%. The eye opener about that was the three-point shooting was fully revived in that span, going 8 of 9 from deep.
They key element there: when those triples are dropping for this team, they are absolutely deadly.
Anyway, after going through this entire quarter from the Heat, let’s take a walk through some of the things that stood out, which was headlined by the offensive end…
The Markieff Morris Post Usage
Looking through the clips above, you can see why Coach Erik Spoelstra raves about the versatility of Markieff Morris.
He’s actually used in a lot of the same spots that Bam Adebayo sets up in, which makes their minutes together so interesting. It’s setting up in that inner wing in the post, while a bunch of layers are added on top of that off the ball.
The first clip shows the ability for him to score in that position, and it’s a play I’ve brought up a lot with Kyle Lowry and Adebayo. Lowry inserts the ball to him and totally clears to indicate that it’s go time for Bam in that set.
With Morris, though, that safety blanket is there for him with Lowry on that wing. The defender drops down as much as he can, before Morris gets in good position and rises over the top of Tim Hardaway Jr for the bucket.
In the second clip, Morris gets another mismatch on the baseline, and look at the eyes of all the defenders.
Immediately everybody’s focused on that incoming double and the rotations that would quickly follow. Tyler Herro, on the other hand, doesn’t let the defense get comfortable. He loops around the perimeter and receives the ball for a catch and shoot three while his defender is still gazing at Morris on the baseline.
Lastly, the final clip shows Morris shift from that post position into a dribble hand-off with Lowry, which ends up right back in the hands of Morris on the roll. He hits Adebayo on the loop around and an and-1 comes out of it.
You get the point. Having the option to run this much offense through a role player like Morris has really proven to help the overall flow of this group. And due to his mid-range jumper falling regularly to start the season, he can heat up quick.
The Tyler Herro Run
Tyler Herro is no longer just a bottle of energy. He’s a bottle of energy and production.
You insert him into the game and 17 minutes later he’s got 17 points. This isn’t just considered a hot stretch anymore, this is just Tyler Herro.
This second quarter included a lot of big moments from him, since his 15 points in this quarter was a big reason Miami exploded for 46.
Kyle Lowry pushing the pace in transition per usual, before he redirects right into the way of oncoming traffic. Herro is in that trailing bunch, as Lowry hands it off to him and he doesn’t think twice about firing. Bucket.
The intriguing part about that play is the ball left Herro’s hand with 19 seconds left on the shot clock. I must say that is a lot different than what we’re used to.
It’s not that Miami’s just out-speeding ever single team, since they’re actually not as high as you think in pace so far, but instead it’s the looks being generated in that fast pace when Lowry is on the floor.
We hear a lot about “Kyle chaos,” but that second clip above showcases a little bit of “Tyler chaos.”
He’s trying to create something out of nothing with the shot-clock trickling down, as two defenders collapse on top of him on the drive. That was a theme for Dallas’ defense last night, since they were really closing off the paint on Herro to start off the game, leading to him shifting into more outside shots.
Following that block, he repossesses the ball, fades away, and drops it through the net in a wild fashion.
But once again, this is just Tyler Herro doing Tyler Herro things.
The Back and Forth
It’s always fun when two talented players get in an incredible shoot-out in a quarter where neither can miss. That usually consists of the top players in the league in a headlined show-down, but last night, it was Luka Doncic and Tyler Herro.
I discussed some of the shots he was generating in the last section, but the difference with this stretch is the way he reacts to a faster paced game. Not when Lowry is dictating it, but when the opposing team is dictating it.
Doncic buries a wild scoop layup where he thinks he got fouled as he looks over at the ref, and Herro is already about to cross half-court. He runs right by the much slower Dwight Powell, and lays it in with a scoop layup of his own.
Not many players want to play a game of “horse” with Doncic due to his absurd shot-making and ability to catch fire quick, but Herro isn’t scared at all.
In the second clip, shortly after that layup, Doncic tries to take Herro in isolation as he sizes up for a tough step-back three on the wing. It clanks off the rim to PJ Tucker who gives it to Jimmy Butler, while the only Heat player not in frame is Tyler Herro.
Where is he? All the way down the floor awaiting the throw down.
Butler then hits him and it’s Herro’s turn to have this dance. Similarly, he steps back to his left in the face of Doncic and buries the contested triple.
Kyle Lowry Finding His Shot
It was a good time for Kyle Lowry to find his shot last night, but it’s not even about the makes. It’s about how he picks his shots.
The second quarter for him consisted of 3 attempts from deep which is higher than usual, but he knocked down all 3 of them in that span. He’s not always going to put that many up, but he waits for the right time when the team needs a bucket from him.
So, let’s look at these attempts.
In the first clip, this is the way Herro and Lowry can benefit from each other so much. Herro gets the ball and drives baseline, but just look at all 5 blue jerseys. You would think the guy with the scoring title had the ball in his hands.
Herro hits a wide open Lowry at the top of the key, and we all know he won’t miss many of those.
The next clip is fast forwarded toward the end of the quarter, where the Heat can elect to go 2 for 1. Lowry ends up going with his well known transition pull-up three and makes his third of the quarter, which is something we should see a lot this season.
He’s not taking anything away from others with this type of shot. It’s basically a “free play” in football terms, and Lowry always knows how to take advantage of those possessions.
The last clip is what I mean by Lowry’s ability to choose specific times to let it go. It was a pretty ugly possession with the current spacing and movement, but Lowry ends up getting it back in a tight corner. Looked like another late shot-clock heave was coming, but he doesn’t let it get to that point.
He takes the most difficult shot possible with a hand in his face as he’s moving left in the corner, but he still knocks it down somehow. Much like how Herro was doing Herro things, Kyle Lowry was doing Kyle Lowry things.
Dewayne Dedmon: The Release Valve
When the Heat brought back Dewayne Dedmon, it was such a smart move. A trusted back-up big, added rebounding, and known toughness. But I don’t think anybody realized how much he really brings to the offense.
Like I said, he’s the release valve for most of Miami’s sets.
Things breakdown, the shot clock is ticking down, and a double is coming, the ball will probably find Dedmon on the roll or under the rim. And frankly, there’s about a 90% chance or higher Dedmon makes an awkward sky-hook in the meantime.
The clip above is a great example, as Herro gets stuck with the shot clock at 7 seconds. He hits Dedmon and flies across to receive the hand-off right back. Both defenders try and trap Herro as he’s driving baseline but he finds Dedmon, the release valve, on the roll and scores.
This isn’t just a one time thing. Or even a one game thing. This is multiple possessions each and every night.
“He gives us a different kind of feel at the center position than Bam. And he has a great knack for the ball, offensive rebounding, sliding into open spots and making himself available so he can finish in the paint, and he has a good touch at the rim for a big,” Spoelstra said when I asked him about Dedmon after last night’s win.
“Couldn’t be happier about the minutes and productivity he’s given from that position.”
“And Bam, who should win defensive player of the year,” said Kyle Lowry on the post-game interview on TNT last night.
This defensive stuff from Adebayo is no longer going to go unnoticed. Opponents are currently shooting 28% when Bam is guarding them this season, which doesn’t even almost project the whole story regarding his importance and talent on that end.
Stats say one thing, but film says another. Just take a look at this play above on Luka Doncic.
Doncic waves his hand around to get enough space to take Adebayo in isolation, but he clearly doesn’t know what’s coming. He tries some hesitations on the face-up but there is no bite coming from Adebayo’s end. He then turns into post position, which gets even worse for him real quick.
He gives him two bumps and spins for his usual over the top one-legged shot attempt, but Bam is waiting for him on the turn. He follows that up with a few fakes and fades away for the shot, while Adebayo is absolutely blanketing him with perfect contention, leading to an air ball.
That play represents him as a defender.
Nobody can breathe or take a break when they find him on the perimeter, while it’s usually the exact opposite when big men switch out onto guards or wings.
He’s just in a different category on that end, but he needs to be in the same category of defensive player of the year.
Adebayo’s continually been a top defender in this league, but the stat watchers who vote always sell him short. But that 28% that his opponents are shooting should be as big of a stat as any for him to get that award at the end of the year.
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