Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Blazers
Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Blazers
Jul 18, 2024 2:29 PM

The Miami Heat took down the Portland Trail Blazers at home on Wednesday night, behind pure role player domination and Bam Adebayo late takeover.

Many guys had their moments, including Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent, but Adebayo took over with no Kyle Lowry, no Tyler Herro, and no Jimmy Butler late.

That’s big time.

So, here are five takeaways from this one…

#1: Some Bam Adebayo flashes of total offensive awareness.

Bam Adebayo was the topic of last game but in more of a forceful sense. On his return day, he showcased some defensive sustainability but wasn’t providing the total offensive weaponry as expected. Tonight, though, we saw the flashes that many want to see. To begin the game, Duncan Robinson ends around for a DHO, but his defender is totally fronting him. Adebayo turns, dribbles, and pulls up right into a jumper that went right through the net. That’s the guy many have been awaiting, and that wasn’t the only first half possession that was seen. On the other side of the floor, I saw something that I’ve been saying must be seen more often. Switching will always be number one on their list when he’s on the floor, but blitzing is necessary with his athletic build and quick speed. Late in the second quarter, that blitz led to an easy turnover, which is even easier when Caleb Martin is the other on-ball guy spearheading it. But his late offensive takeover iced it, and it was all about Adebayo’s mindset.

#2: Wait, Jimmy Butler ejected?

Jimmy Butler definitely felt he was getting fouled often in the first half. He’s not one that barks at the refs possession after possession like his point guard counterpart, but something flipped after an and-1. He looked to be sending a message to the baseline referee as he went to let him know in his face about the fouling spree, which totally warranted a technical. Emphasis on “a” technical. As he turned to walk away, still talking to some teammates around him, the second official slid in to give him his second technical. That one, not as warranted in my opinion. Was Butler that upset about the no-calls? I doubt it. As I said, it felt like more of a message that Butler wasn’t expecting to end in ejection. Either way, extra rest isn’t the worst thing for the Heat’s star player.

#3: The bench mob takeover.

Speaking on more of the specifics of the first half, it was more of the “others” that shined, and more importantly, kept Miami afloat. As the starters lacked that offensive chemistry to create similar looks, the bench group came in facilitating that ball at an elite level. Gabe Vincent-Kyle Guy-Max Strus-Caleb Martin-Dewayne Dedmon is quite the lineup to rely on for a good stretch of time, but well, it worked. Martin and Strus ended the first half with 11 points a piece, each doing it in different ways. Strus more of that ignitable spark that gave Miami that extra push when needed offensive to finish possessions, and Martin more of that persistent spot scorer who can utilize terrific footwork, the occasional three, and pure athleticism down the lane to put points on the board. This grouping was intriguing, but I don’t know if I can say it was surprising. I feel like I’ve seen this same show for 44 games.

#4: Another Erik Spoelstra third quarter adjustment.

One of Erik Spoelstra’s best coaching games this season was the home match-up against Utah earlier in the season. Why is that? Well, he made one single adjustment that turned the game around in Miami’s favor. Tonight, he made a similar move. Miami’s back to strong switching with Bam Adebayo back, but that also can be worked to their advantage with PJ Tucker on the floor. And after Jusef Nurkic was really dominating the interior, Spoelstra shifted the match-ups to stick Tucker on CJ McCollum and Adebayo still on Nurkic. What does that mean? Well, every screening action ended with Adebayo on McCollum and Tucker on Nurkic. That’s a win for Miami on both fronts, even if rebounding standards scare you. That one move put Miami right back in it to finish the third quarter strong, as Martin exploded on the other end.



#5: Gabe Vincent’s improvements are no joke.

While it may feel like Caleb Martin deserves his own section after the big time push he gave them in the third, he’s been discussed enough upon his outstanding efforts. But somebody I touched on briefly that must be discussed more is Gabe Vincent. Finding rotation minutes for him aside, we’re witnessing a guy that has made continuous jumps in areas that weren’t even being focused on from outsiders. As many were just speaking on the perimeter shot falling, he’s taken that bet and raised it. Vincent has improved both his handles and vision to a completely other level, that make him quite the NBA level player, as he took over to begin the fourth with continuous feeds to Dewayne Dedmon. And well, defense hasn’t even been mentioned after he was stealing, deflecting, and fronting anybody that came his way. He’s not Kyle Lowry, but he’s treated as such when Lowry is out.

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