With the 107-105 loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, The Heat drop their fourth game out of seven to start the season. After an exciting finals run last year and high expectations coming into this season, the Heat have put together a slow start.
Heat Drop Fourth Game: Positives
Coming off a strong finals run and high expectations, the Heat have not impressed many fans with their start to the season. With a record of 3-4, the Heat have played, well, flat out bad, putting together losses from the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks and now Boston Celtics.
Last night’s game was a very winnable game, as Payton Pritchard got the offensive put-back off Marcus Smart‘s miss with 0.2 seconds to go. Given, the Celtics are arguably a top three team in the East, with the best duo young duo in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Jimmy Butler Finally Came to Play
Jimmy Butler had his best game of the season against the Celtics, tallying 26 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in 33 minutes of play. Butler’s leadership is what pulled the Heat so far in last year’s bubble, so this is great to see again.
We also see Butler getting to the free throw line, where he cashed in 8/9 from the stripe. We know that Jimmy’s an aggressive player, so seeing him draw fouls is a sight for sore eyes.
Duncan Robinson Got Hot
Duncan Robinson shot 45.5% from beyond the arc, putting up 11 threes and hitting 5 of them. Robinson also led the team in +/- with 12. We’ve seen Robinson have a rocky shooting year in terms of efficiency, however, the third year guard is still averaging 41.1% from deep.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
Not his best game of the season, but Bam Adebayo put together another almost triple-double, stringing together 15 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Adebayo remains an efficient scorer and very smart shot taker, averaging 64.9% from the field over the season and 50% (5/10) against the Celtics.
Precious Achiuwa, although he didn’t play a ton of minutes, he had an impact on the game. in 14 minutes of play, Achiuwa scored 6 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, dished 3 assists and even swatted a shot. These stats aren’t mind blowing by any means, but the rookie forward is looking like a nice all-around player moving forward.
Heat Drop Fourth Game: Negatives
As mentioned in the positives section, this was a very winnable game, and the good outweighs the bad in this scenario. However, there are still things that need fixed, preferably sooner rather than later.
The Heat’s rebounding struggles continue to show, as the team ranks 29th in the rebounding category, only in front of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Heat were outrebounded by a margin of 11 boards, leaving the total rebound matchup at 53-42, including a 16-6 loss in the offensive rebounding category.
The Heat’s leading rebounders were Adebayo and Butler with eight rebounds a piece. The looming presence of a “big man” is haunting the Heat to start this season. Hopefully we won’t see things go downhill moving forward.
It didn’t show as much in the loss to the Celtics, but the Heat also rank second to last in turnovers per game, averaging a whopping 16.3. Adebayo averages over three turnovers a game in himself, and this needs to change.
Tyler Herro is shooting much worse than he did last season. In Wednesday night’s game, he scored 8 points on 2/8 shooting and 1/5 from beyond the arc. Herro is averaging 29.7% from deep this season. If the Heat want to see another look at the finals, this will have to be a focus moving forward.
Heat Drop Fourth Game: Conclusion
All this being said, I wouldn’t worry quite yet. Yes, it’s been a disappointing start. Yes, we have things we need to focus on moving forward, but most of these things are fixable things. Herro will start to flow into his new point guard role and Bam will settle down getting deeper into the season.
The Heat will face off against the Washington Wizards in Washington on Saturday, January 9.
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