News

Miami Heat Defeat Wizards Behind Butler Triple Double

The Miami HEAT came into Friday night’s matchup with the Washington Wizards off of a 2-1 road trip highlighted by an OT win against the Toronto Raptors.  After another road back to back loss against one of the league’s top teams, a home tilt against the sub .500 Wizards felt like a welcome respite.

Before the game Wizards coach Scott Brooks had high praise for Bam Adebayo and the Heat coaching staff saying, “(Bam) is a bonafide star big in this league.” As a thank you for the kind words, Adebayo scored a quick 10 pts in the first quarter, including a couple of butter smooth jumpers that other teams have been daring him to take.

Adebayo got some help in the 2nd quarter as Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro came to life. Despite their efforts, the Heat trailed going into the half for only the second time this season due to an uncharacteristically poor defensive effort.  The Heat struggled to contain Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans in particular, with Bertans going 4 for 7 from beyond the arc in the 2nd quarter. Kendrick Nunn continued his recent struggles with only 3 points in the first half and a couple of sloppy sequences.

The 2nd half defense was far better than the first as the Wizards – one of the most potent offenses in the league – only managed to score 38 points.  Offensively, the trio of Butler, Adebayo and Herro continued their scoring barrage but the Heat struggled to increase or even maintain a lead going into the 4th.

So with a tight game and the clock winding down, the Heat turned to their closer.  Butler was brought to Miami for a myriad of reasons, but foremost amongst them was to give Coach Erik Spoelstra the kind of closer the team hasn’t seen since Dwyane Wade left for the Chicago Bulls.

With just over a minute left and the Heat leading 108-103, Butler had seen enough. He calmly stepped into a 25 ft 3 point shot that iced the game and gave the Heat a win. In typical Butler fashion, he stomped his way to the Heat bench after the Wizards called timeout and shared some “colorful” words with his teammates.  The kind of aggressive action that may have rubbed some of his past franchises the wrong way, is embraced in Miami, if not encouraged.

Miami went on to win by a score of 112-103 as Butler finished with a triple double (28-11-11) to remain undefeated at home. Adebayo chipped in a double double (24 pts and 14 rebs), while Herro added 22 pts of his own.

But the night belonged to Butler who shared some words with this former coach Tom Thibodeau on his way off the floor.  Thibs was all smiles as he watched his former superstar close out an opponent in familiar fashion. Seemingly happy for Jimmy, as he has finally found an NBA home.

 

Miami Heat edit

Home is Where the Heat is: Why Miami Needs Home Cooking

The Miami Heat (15-6) return home Friday against Washington after finishing their three game road trip with two solid wins.

Those two wins against the Nets and Raptors showed Miami could compete with anyone away from the American Airlines Arena.

Now the Heat return home where they are 8-0 and have once again solidified their home court advantage.

This bodes well for a Heat squad that either narrowly missed the playoffs or had less than ideal postseason seeding in recent years.

Taking a look back at some of those past seasons may not be an indicator of future success, but it can provide some context on the importance of holding serve on your home floor.

The 2010-11 Heat team featuring the “Big 3”  lost in the NBA Finals to Dallas and finished 29-12 at home and 58-24 overall, the road success was equally as important that season.

Miami had winning streaks of 12, 9, and 8 games that season, but did have a four game home losing streak as well. They stepped it up on their home floor in the NBA playoffs with a 9-2 home record, winning all home games in the first three rounds before collapsing and losing two out of three to Dallas in the NBA Finals -including Game 6 to end it.

In the 2011-12 season the Heat were once again strong on their home court en route to their second NBA title, finishing with a 28-13 home mark. This team was less streaky than the previous year with a long winning streak of nine games, the Heat would have several five game runs as well.

 

Miami would elevate their play at home during the playoffs, only dropping two games. The Heat were down 3-2 to Boston in the Eastern Conference before a season saving win at the TD Center in Game 6 would set up a closeout game at home. In Game 7 Miami wore down Boston 101-88 at home and earned their second straight finals trip. Having home court in that series made a huge difference.

Miami would match up with a young Oklahoma City team featuring Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden in the NBA Finals. After dropping the opening game on the road, Miami would put their foot down and swept the next four including the last three at home.

The 2012-13 team took that earlier success to new heights on the way to back-to-back titles and they obliterated opponents at home, finishing with a 37-5 record.

During that campaign the Heat opened with a 9-0 home mark, and won 16 straight at home during their epic 27-game run overall.

That season would also end with two of the most iconic home games in Heat history.

 

Miami was down 3-2 in that series against San Antonio and on life support coming back to Miami after losing twice in the Lone Star State. Lebron James would silence the critics on his home court with a triple double (32/10/11) in Game 6, followed by dropping 37 points in Game 7.

In the last season of the Big 3 era, 2013-14, Miami would again finish with a stellar home record of 31-10. They won five straight games at home twice, and also notched a nine game run during the regular season. It seemed like the Heat were poised to win their third consecutive title once the playoffs started, Miami won all eight home games in the first three rounds on their way to a Finals rematch with San Antonio.

Home Court Taketh Away

That series would be different in one huge regard as the Spurs possessed home court, opening with a 110-95 win in San Antonio. Miami would bounce back in Game 2 and send it back to the 305, however the offense would fall apart in spectacular fashion.

The Heat would lose Game 3 111-92 and Game 4 107-86, their lowest point total of the postseason. This collapse would be too much to overcome as San Antonio would exact revenge in Game 5 on their home court 104-87 and emphatically closing the championship window for that Heat team. James would subsequently depart back to Cleveland, and a middling era of Miami Heat basketball would ensue.

Miami would miss the playoffs in the 2014-15 season and had a losing record (20-21) at home, finishing 37-45 overall and missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. In the five years after losing in the finals to San Antonio, Miami missed the playoffs in three of them. In 2016 they finished 41-41 overall and just 23-18 at home, narrowly missing out on extra basketball.

Last year the Heat again missed the playoffs and played losing basketball at home, finishing 19-22 at American Airlines Arena. In a mediocre Eastern Conference outside the top group, Miami was poised for a spot in the postseason but could not get it done at home. They lost six straight home games twice and closed out the year losing five of six overall.

Needless to say, this year’s team looks much different than recent versions. The additions of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, along with the huge advancement of Bam Adebayo has altered the course of the franchise on a dime.

With suffocating defense and timely offense, the 2019 Miami Heat are beating the teams they should.

Whether on the road or at home, they seem less susceptible to extended stretches of inconsistency this year.

While past accomplishments may not affect the present – given the history and impact of the home record, this version of the Miami Heat is on the right trajectory.

Miami Heat: Team needs to avoid fouling inside the paint

The Miami Heat are set to take on the Boston Celtics in what should be a great test for a young team. With the Boston Celtics coming in with a 14-5 record, they are certainly one of the top teams in the conference. Miami needs to focus on limiting Boston’s free-throw opportunities if they want to win this game.

Coming into Wednesday’s action, shooting guard Brad Wanamaker is ranked ninth in the NBA in free-throw percentage. With a 90.7 % from the line, he is extremely successful from there. Point guard Kemba Walker also touts a 90.7 percentage from the line. Part of the reason for their success is that they are able to get the line often.

One of the things the Boston Celtics have done well this year is get to the line. They are a team that likes to drive to the basket, and initiate contact. Walker does it very well in particular. Once he gets a full head of steam heading to the basket, it is difficult to stop him. Wanamaker does a good job of initiating contact on the shot. As soon as he releases the basketball, he looks to initiate contact with the defender.

Walker is 78-86 from the line this season while Wanamaker Is 41-45 from the free-throw line on the season.

What can the Miami Heat do to stop this?

In addition to Walker and Wanamaker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are also very good at driving to the basket. That quartet will undoubtedly keep Miami off-balance. Miami needs to force them to take perimeter shots and play tight defense. It may sound a bit strange, but Miami should live with them making jumpers this game. If Miami lets them go to the rim, they will force the Heat into foul trouble and put the Celtics at the free-throw line.

The Celtics are in the middle of the pack when it comes to making three-point shots. Converting at 34.5%, Boston has struggled a bit in that area. Miami should look to contain the drive to the basket and forced the Celtics to take uncomfortable shots. It’s easier said than done, but It can be done. If Miami wants to keep the winning streak going, they must avoid putting Boston at the free-throw line.

Miami Heat: Three-point shot rules the day in win over Raptors

The three-point shot helped Miami defeat a tough Toronto team.

The Miami Heat beat the Toronto Raptors by a 121-110 score on Wednesday night. A big reason for the win was the Heat’s success shooting the three-point shot.

As a team, the Heat went 15-of-38 from behind the arc. Duncan Robinson had the most success for Miami. His play has improved over the past couple games, and he made a major contribution on Tuesday night. He went six-of-nine from the three-point line and totaled 22 points. That was tied with Jimmy Butler for the team lead on the evening. As a team, they shot 39.5% from behind the line on the evening.

Miami Heat eliminated three-point shot defensively

The team also stifled the Toronto Raptors three-point shooters. Fred VanFleet was held to three-of-nine from behind the arc. In 43 minutes of play, he could not get anything going at it consistent rates. Kyle Lowry also had a rough night, missing all 11 three-pointers he took. The player who had the most success from three-point range was Serge Ibaka, going two of three from beyond the arc.

There are definitely other factors as to why the Miami Heat won. However, making the three-point shot offensively while eliminating it defensively was crucial on Tuesday night. Miami is third in the league in thee point percentage at 38.9 %.  They make 12.6 three-point shots per game while attempting 33.8 per contest.

The three-pointer hasn’t always been a big part of Miami’s game. However, that is the way the game is trending. Threes are huge part of what many teams do, and it’s nice that Miami has capable players that can get it done on the roster. Their efficiency in shooting the three-ball will help them come playoff time. Now, they look to continue their success from beyond the arc against Boston on Wednesday. The Celtics have capable three-point shooters in their own right. Tipoff in Boston is  7:30 pm.

Miami Heat: Kendrick Nunn named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of Month

A Miami Heat rookie received an accolade on Tuesday. Kendrick Nunn was named to the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for November.

Nunn is the first Miami Heat player to win the award since Josh Richardson in 2016.

He averaged 14.1 points per game in addition to 2.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest. He had four 20-point games in the month of November. His best game came against Cleveland on the 14th. In that contest, he played 37 minutes , going 10-of-16 from the field. Scoring 23 points, he also recorded five rebounds and eight assists. His efficiency from the field has also been impressive. Prior to Tuesday’s game, he is shooting 46.4% from the field and 36.2 % from behind the three-point line.

In his last game against Brooklyn, he started the month of December off right. In what was a balanced team effort, he scored 11 points and chipped assists in 25 minutes play. He has been a strong source of secondary scoring. With Jimmy Butler averaging 18.8 points on the year, Nunn is second on the team in ppg.

Nunn is a great story to boot. Having gone undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, he was in the G-League just last year. Now he is making valuable contributions for the Miami Heat. Miami begins a tough two-game stretch on Tuesday night. They face the Toronto Raptors, and then the Boston Celtics and what should be great tests for the team. Tipoff for Tuesday’s game is 7:30 PM.

Miami Heat: Rebounding will be crucial against Raptors

The Miami Heat are set to battle the Toronto Raptors in a battle of the second and third-seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. There are certainly many storylines to watch in this game, as both teams have talent and stars at several positions. With what looks like an even matchup on paper, the margin for error shrinks. This is something that could work to the Miami Heat’s advantage in one area in particular: rebounding.

Toronto has given up the second-most rebounds in the NBA. With 48.5 per game allowed on the season, they trail only the Chicago Bulls in that category. The 13.2 offensive rebounds are the most-allowed in the NBA and they’re tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for 17th in most defensive rebounds with 35.4.

The Miami Heat have certainly done their part in keeping opponents off the glass. They allow the least amount of defensive rebounds per game with 31.2 per contest. They also only allow 9.3 rebounds per contest on the offensive glass.

For what it’s worth, the Miami Heat are 20th in the NBA 44.6 rebounds per game. They average nine rebounds on the offensive glass and 35.6 rebounds defensively.

Opportunities for second-chance points for Miami Heat

The lack of rebounding on the part of Toronto and Miami’s willingness to crash the offensive glass may work out in their favor. This may lead to second-chance points: a category that Miami needs to be better in. They rank 21st in the NBA with 12.4 second-chance points per game.

Miami put together a good rebounding game on Sunday against Brooklyn.  Outrebounding the nets 62-56, they certainly were able to win the battle on the glass. Winning that same battle will be important for Miami on Tuesday night. This Toronto team is extremely talented, especially on the perimeter. Bam Adebayo had 16 rebounds on Sunday night,leading the way for Miami. He leads the team in rebounds and 10.6 per game on the season. Expect him to play a crucial role on Tuesday night.

This will be a great test for the Miami Heat and a win against the Raptors will add another impressive notch to their 2019 season. But in order to do that, they have to rebound.

Goran Dragic provides spark in nailbiting victory

Sunday’s action on the hardwood was exciting to the very end. The Miami Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets by a 109-106 score. It seemed like every starter contributed, and that was great to see. This season in particular, Miami has been all about balance in terms of scoring and that was evident on Sunday. And they once again got a major impact off the bench from Goran Dragic.

Dragic provides spark for Miami Heat

Dragic contributed 24 points, six assists, and two rebounds in 31 minutes of play. His 24 points were the most since he scored 25 on November 7 against the Phoenix Suns. This was another case of a player stepping up and helping Miami get the job done. He went three-of-six from behind the three-point line. He also chipped in three free throws.

Sunday night he was definitely looking for his shot, going nine-of-18 from the field. His 18 shot attempts were his most to this point in the season. If the Miami Heat can get him going on a consistent basis, that’s just another weapon they have in their arsenal.  Miami’s versatility this season has allowed Dragic to seamlessly transition from starter to sixth man. That’s the benefit of having depth on the roster. The rookies are playing so well that Miami can mix and match their lineups. For Miami, it’s a nice luxury to have.

With games against the Toronto raptors and Boston Celtics coming up, the Miami Heat need to be firing on all cylinders.  Dragic has been a valuable piece to their success so far. Playing well and with efficiency will be key for both the Heat and Dragic and it will be interesting to see how they do over these next couple of games. These will be two very difficult road tests and will pit Miami against two of the best in the Eastern Conference.

Full boat for Miami Heat: Blessing or problem?

The untold national story of the Miami Heat’s 13-5 start is how much they’ve done with less.

When training camp started, it was assumed by many that Justise Winslow, James Johnson, Dion Waiters and even Derrick Jones Jr. would be integral parts of the rotation. After all, those are two of the team’s highest paid players, the projected starting point guard and a prospect the Heat have compared to first round value.

But Winslow missed three weeks with a concussion. Johnson wasn’t in Heat shape to start camp and has fallen out of favor. Jones has had an assortment of maladies. And Waiters? Well, you know.

Now, though, all are back.

That gives the Heat 15 available players as they face the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday at the start of a compelling 3-game Eastern road swing.

So how will this shake out?

Start with the starting lineup. Since Winslow returned, Erik Spoelstra has inserted sixth man Goran Dragic in his place anyway. But the Heat are committed to Dragic as bench stalwart. So you’d guess Winslow gets back in the lineup, now that his minutes are up, to start to build offensive chemistry with Jimmy Butler — arguably the most important objective for this team in the short term.

But who is the guard between them? Still Kendrick Nunn? Duncan Robinson, who played so well as part of the five-man opening group with Winslow out? Or is this the time to insert Tyler Herro, the Bucket Brother who has undeniable chemistry with Butler?

That, of course, will affect the bench. Assuming Dragic goes back there, does he pair better with Herro or Nunn? And what about the frontcourt? Kelly Olynyk has found his game of late. Does he replace Meyers Leonard in the starting lineup? What becomes of two-way surprise Chris Silva? In some games, the Heat have needed his energy. They’re not worried about his service time clock. Send him to the G-League for a week as Jones and Johnson get some run? Or stay with what’s working?

You’d always rather have more talent than less.

But some of Spoelstra’s decisions have been made for him so far, by circumstance.

Now, as even he has said, the decisions will get more difficult.

His motto: Force me to watch you, force me to play you, force me to make a tough choice.

Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler out for Wednesday’s game against Rockets

The Miami Heat will face a tough Houston Rockets team without one of its best players. Forward Jimmy Butler will not play in Wednesday’s game against the Rockets due to an illness.

This is certainly an unfortunate development as Butler has been fantastic for the Heat this season. He is averaging 18.9 points per contest, to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. He is truly doing it all for Miami, and he is undoubtedly one of the leaders in the locker room.

If there is one positive about this injury, it is that the Heat beat the Milwaukee Bucks without Butler in October. They are facing a team of equal talent in the Houston Rockets Wednesday night.

This could also mean that Justise Winslow gets the start. Winslow has played in five games this season averaging 13.8 points. His best game statistically came on October 23 against Memphis where he scored 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting. He also managed to record seven rebounds and seven assists.

Winslow also had a nice game against Minnesota on October 27. In 42 minutes of work, he recorded 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting. He also proved to be an impactful playmaker, recording six assists on the evening. He has put up points when given the opportunity. For him, it’s all about staying healthy. Wednesday night, he may get his first chance at extended action in quite a while.

Miami Heat Watch Party at Duffy’s

Make sure to join us on Wednesday at Duffy’s for the Miami Heat game. It should be a great contest as they look to defeat the Houston Rockets. With an upstart Miami Heat team playing against one of the premier teams in the Western Conference, it is certainly must-see television.

Start your Thanksgiving holiday off right. Hopefully, the Miami Heat will make the party even better with a victory.

Heat’s Justise Winslow finally back, will play vs. Rockets

Justise Winslow will finally make his return Wednesday against the Houston Rockets.

The Miami Heat point guard has been out of action since November 5th when he collided with Nuggets forward Paul Millsap, and stayed in the game. He was placed in concussion protocol after the game and practiced for the first time today (Tuesday) since the injury. Without Winslow, Miami posted an impressive 7-2 record and didn’t miss a beat for the most part, except perhaps against Philadelphia, where his size and defense clearly would have been useful.

 

Duncan Robinson was able to step in for Justise and contribute solid minutes even posting a career high in points during his absence. It will be interesting to finally see the tandem of Jimmy Butler and Justise Winslow get significant play time together. Many expect them to flourish on the defensive end but question whether offensively it will work.

What Duncan Robinson gave the Heat during Winslow’s absence was a deadly three point threat which provided tons of spacing. Although Winslow isn’t an awful shooter (38 percent from three-point range the past two seasons), it will be interesting to see how this plays out especially since the Heat proved they can win games without him. Also, the Heat have been linked to names such as San Antonio’s former All-Stars, DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, with Winslow being the centerpiece in most of these speculated trades.

So the fit here may determine Pat Riley’s actions.

Winslow’s return comes at a great time as the Heat face one of the more lethal backcourts in the NBA — Russell Westbrook and scoring leader James Harden. His size and defense will be important in stopping Houston’s high powered offense.

Justise is better.

Now we’ll see if the Heat are too.