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Five Takeaways from Heat’s Loss to Boston
Five Takeaways from Heat’s Loss to Boston
Jul 18, 2024 2:31 PM

The Miami Heat had a short rotation in this one without Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, and Kyle Lowry, and well, they fell short to the Celtics.

So, here are some takeaways from this one…

#1: Super rough offensive start by Miami.

When looking down the roster of available players, it felt like Tyler Herro starting was the move. The reasoning was that plugging in Caleb Martin and Max Strus for Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker leaves you with a very little amount of shot creation to open up the game. And well, two Duncan Robinson fouls later and an eventual 14 point first quarter, it was showing that formula wasn’t the right play tonight. The only way to survive in that state is to both bomb away from three and capitalize in that fashion. Yet, nothing seemed to fall in that opening spam, or the ones that followed. Then, a first half turn was made in that second quarter, while it felt the energy levels picked up after some tough Tyler Herro shots and creation. Yet, once again, that was the end of that run shortly after.

#2: Is there more to unpack with Caleb Martin?

When grabbing the defensive rebound with clear numbers in front, a certain outlet pass always seems to be the right one: Caleb Martin on the break. There aren’t many better options in that space, since not only is he an athletic finisher, but he’s hard to slow down in space, and can collapse a scrambling transition defense like seen in that second quarter. But in a big picture sense, I think there might be more to unpack with Martin offensively. Seeing him drive with the right into a strong poster dunk on Robert Williams aside, he continues to show these half-court flashes as a penetration guy. I’m not sure if the handle is all the way there for that consistently, but on night’s like this with limited creators and play-makers, it’s not the worst thing to open up. Since well, his role all year is to just plug right into the role of whatever is necessary in that game.

#3: Silva-Adebayo spark?

When that game turned around early as mentioned before, it was kind of sparked by a front-court of Bam Adebayo and Chris Silva. Totally normal, right? This is not to have the Adebayo at the 4 conversation, since he’s certainly a perfectly fitted 5 on this roster when healthy, but it makes sense in games like this one. If Omer Yurtseven wasn’t in protocols, it would be a great trial run, especially considering Boston’s big front with Al Horford and Robert Williams. Anyway, they went the Silva-Adebayo route for that stretch, and the part that stood out there was Bam not having to play the middle of the 2-3 zone. With clear mismatches, zone was the only usable outlet in this game in general, but rebounding was problematic at times within it, due to the inability to just put a body on your match-up. But Silva got some boards, and it led to a decent run for Miami on the other end. In all, it just didn’t make much sense, so necessary to bring up. (And yet, not something I’d love to see again…)

#4: The hardest game to adjust the offensive plan.

Coach Erik Spoelstra has found a way offensively whenever guys have gone down, but looking around as Miami trails in the third, it just felt like they didn’t “have enough.” The reason is that Adebayo getting his fourth foul meant more on Gabe Vincent’s plate, and not in a positive light. Vincent isn’t a true point guard, but he’s been an incredible filler due to his ability to get Miami into their offensive triggers with the regular starting lineup around him. Tonight, specifically when Adebayo went to the bench, Vincent was asked to work an offense that essentially had no triggers. Like I said, we’ve seen Miami adjust to things offensively, but the one and only way to get out of it was to play the perimeter game and try to shoot your way out of it. Just a rough match-up when you don’t have that main element.

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#5: Onto the 4th game in 5 nights.

Well, after seeing Miami’s struggles without 3 starters, while the others were completely cold from beyond the arc, the fifth takeaway has to be onto the next one. Or more importantly, onto the next injury report. It’s pretty clear that Butler and Tucker needed to take this game off, even if it ended in an L, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they immediately came back tomorrow. This team has fillers for singular players and can step up into different roles, but 3 starters down is just another beast. It’s no longer asking to plug a specific skill or role, but now you’re forcing these fillers to shift the prior theme and simply enter takeover mode. Like I said, Martin had moments, and Max Strus put together a pretty impressive night, but that’s the complementary element. They just didn’t have the thing to actually be complemented in this one.

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