After an ugly loss in Memphis two nights ago, Miami traveled north to Philly. What was an ugly 1st quarter turned into a more than pleasant night for Miami. The Heat cleaned up their mistakes and came down with the win in this one 108-104. So how was Miami able to pick up the victory in Philadelphia? Here are 5 takeaways on how the Heat was able to shine over the 76ers last night
2-3 Messed with the 76ers rhythm
After 12 minutes of play, the Heat had their heads down. After being embarrassed a month previous in Philly, it was on track to be much the same. Then, for the next 36 minutes, the Heat controlled the game much to the dismay of the 2-3 zone. To start the 2nd, and for much the rest of the game, the Heat ran their defense out the 2-3 zone. Brett Brown and company failed to adjust until it was too late. The Heat forced the 76ers into key misses, got the turnovers they needed, took the lead into the break and didn’t give up from there. The 2-3 zone, which has become extinct in the NBA was very well reborn in Philly tonight.
Typical Night in the Office for Bam
Reigning Eastern Conference player of the week Bam Adebayo has been a man on the mission the past 7 games. Last night in Philly was no different. Bam got the game started off on a hot note. He had 14 of his 23 points at halftime, 10 of them coming in the 1st quarter. As usual, he was all over the stat sheet as well. 2 more steals, including a clutch one at the end to break up an alley-oop attempt. Bam is quickly emerging as a top center in the league and could very well be on his way to an all-star game appearance.
Nunn, the undrafted rookie out of Oakland, quite possible had his best all-around game in his young career. He had a nice 2nd quarter to jump-start his offense and a bundle of clutch shots in the 4th to lead the Heat to victory. Nunn, who has arguably been the 2nd best rookie this season has had his ups-and-downs. However, he is still the 2nd leading scorer on this team and his development is key for the future of this Heat team.
Close Call at the End
In recent years, and more particular recent games, the Heat have been known to blow big leads late. Although they held on to the lead, what was once a 16-point lead was cut to as little as 2. The Heat survived and pulled this one out, 108-104 but it was quite a scare for #HeatNation. Miami led 96-80 with just over 7 minutes left of play. That was in-before a 76ers 24-10 run to cut it to as little as two. Kendrick Nunn missed 2 late free throws to give the 76ers a chance to win it or send it to overtime. Al Horford, had a look at a three to win it but missed. Bam, grabbed the rebound, then proceeded to knock down both free throws, ultimately sealing the game that was closer than it should have been.
Miami Heat players have recently been using hashtag #BounceBack on all their social media following wins. No one outside the locker room really knows what it means. What we do know, is that this team does “Bounce Back”. Following losses, Miami has yet to lose. They are 8-0 in games which they lost the previous one. Meaning the Heat, have not had a real losing streak so far this season. With every team, you would expect bad to come, but right now, it is time to embrace the job Pat Riley and Coach Spo have done with this team and organization.
A Final Word
If the Heat wants to win a title this season, a lot of things need to be cleaned up. First, is the mass-produce of turnovers. Miami leads the league in turnovers per game and that needs to stop, NOW. Secondly, they have to stop squandering leads as big as this. This game should have not been this close late, but it was. The Heat has potential, but with potential comes growing pains. Those growing pains, however show-up night-in and night-out, despite the 19 wins on the resume.
The Heat head back to Miami for a key 4-game homestand. They will ease their way back into a home game with the Knicks on Friday, before the tougher part of the schedule rolls into town. They face the Jazz, Pacers and then a rematch with the Jazz to close out the New Year.