After a rocky season, The Miami Heat keys to first round success might seem like a mountain to climb, as they find themselves locked into the sixth seed and facing off against the Milwaukee Bucks. A familiar matchup for Bucks and Heat fans alike, The Heat look to dominate again while the Bucks seek revenge.
The looming trade of Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley for 2x all-star, Victor Oladipo, has haunted the Miami Heat since April 9. After Oladipo went down with an injury against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 8, the future for the Maryland native has been in question. It was announced on Wednesday, May 12, that Oladipo would miss the remainder of the season with surgery.
Heat guard Victor Oladipo will undergo season-ending surgery on his right quadriceps tendon.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 12, 2021
What does this mean for the Heat? More adjustments.
The Heat have used 26 different starting lineups in the 20-21 NBA season. What will the starting lineups look for their first round matchup?
One of the most common lineups recently has been:
PG: Kendrick Nunn
SG: Duncan Robinson
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Trevor Ariza
C: Bam Adebayo
Expect this lineup to remain pretty solidified through the round, with a possible swap of Robinson and Tyler Herro if one gets hot.
Miami Heat Keys to First Round Success: Consistency
Something the Heat have struggled with all season: consistency. We’ve seen time and time again, players go through hot and cold streaks, but it typically isn’t on a game-to-game basis. Tyler Herro is a perfect example of this. The “baby goat” shined through last season’s playoffs and was thought to have one of the higher ceilings from his draft class; however, he hasn’t shown that same spark that was once provided.
This key could even be labeled, “Consistency/Tyler Herro,” because if he plays like he did last year, the Heat’s chances of winning the series go up exponentially. Facing a team that has won 8 of their last 10 games, this is important.
The Heat must shoot the ball well in this series. As a team, the Bucks shoot 38.9% from deep compared to the Heat’s 35.8%. This, along with the Heat’s defense will be a key factor in opening and closing the series.
Miami Heat Keys to First Round Success: Rebounding
You’ve heard it all season, the Heat need a center. Adebayo doesn’t cut it. Running a 6’9 center for the majority of the game doesn’t help our case against a 6’11 Giannis Antetokounmpo, a 7’0 Brook Lopez, and a 6’10 Bobby Portis.
Currently, the Heat are ranked 29th in rebounding, averaging 41.5 RPG, followed only by the Sacramento Kings, averaging 41.4 RPG. The Heat will need five players on the boards at all times in order to beat the second best rebounding team in the league.
In their 122-108 loss to the Bucks, the Heat were outrebounded 48-38. If this is the case for the majority of the series, expect a quick first round exit in four to five games.
Miami Heat Keys to First Round Success: Limit Shooters
The Heat found a way to stop the Bucks last year, and that was to target Giannis defensively and keep him out of the lane. Milwaukee has reloaded this season, surrounding the back-to-back MVP with shooters, jumping from 18th in 3P% last season, to 5th this season.
Adding shooters like Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis, P.J. Tucker, and Bryn Forbes, as well as increases in shooting numbers from Pat Connaughton, Donte DiVincenzo, and Brook Lopez, make this Bucks team that much more scary. If the Heat want to repeat history with another series win over Milwaukee, limiting shooters’ looks is a must.
With the help of Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, Trevor Ariza, and Bam Adebayo, hopefully the Heat can limit the amount of shots launched from downtown.
The Heat will face off against the Bucks for their first game of the 2021 NBA playoffs on Saturday, May 22.
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