Well, words can’t describe how frustrating this weekend was for the Miami Heat. A rough weekend in the big apple had Miami dropping consecutive games for the first time all season losing to two sub 500 teams on the road. Two close games in which Miami’s late-game execution was absolutely abysmal.
Poor Interior Defense
The first thing that must be addressed was how poor this defense played both nights. For a team that prides itself on strong hard-nosed defense, Miami completely played the opposite of their identity this weekend. Giving up constant easy buckets in the paint and allowing the opposition to fire away nearly uncontested. Part of the problem was the struggle Miami had winning boards in both games. Getting dismantled by offensive rebounds makes it a lot harder to win games. Jimmy Butler cannot be leading this team in rebounds every night for Miami to expect and compete in the eastern conference.
We need Meyers Leonard our starting center to be better at cleaning the glass. Now of course coming into this season no one expected Leonard to be a great interior presence. The likes of Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Jarret Allen, and DeAndre Jordan dominated the paint this weekend. Now I’m not gonna act like the rest of twitter and act like we need to blow up the roster, but we do need to address the issues we have. Bam Adebayo has been nothing short of stellar but I think we need another big to play alongside him. I wouldn’t be shocked if after this terrible weekend you start hearing rumors of Miami’s interest in Andre Drummond.
Late Game Execution
Let’s talk about another issue that bothered me this weekend. The late-game execution has been ridiculously bad these last two games. Ok so two games is a small sample size but both these late-game meltdowns have been just terrible to watch.
During both losses under five minutes, it’s like Miami forgets how to run its offense and starts to play isolation ball. The ball movement stops and we force up ugly shots that lead to bad transition defense. Also, the inbound plays late in games need to be better executed as they have resulted in too many turnovers in late-game situations.
Jimmy Butler In the Clutch
Jimmy Butler is the closer for this team, it’s the reason we gave him a max contract. Butler has had an outstanding season but his shooting numbers as of late have been nothing short of terrible.
Again I’m not saying to riot and get rid of Butler. He has elevated everyone’s game since arriving in Miami and reestablished the culture that had been missing for a while. It may just be a rough patch but these numbers are something to monitor as the season progresses.
The Heat has overachieved this season but we will continue to focus on how the big rebound and defend the interior in the coming weeks as the trade deadline approaches. I think Miami will not make a move and keep the current roster together for a run at this year’s playoffs. Hopefully, Butler starts to be the late-game closer he was in the last couple of seasons. Only time can tell what will happen in the coming weeks as the Heat continue to chase the Bucks in the eastern conference.
A Rough Weekend in the Big Apple indeed it was as Miami returns home Wednesday night to face the Spurs.
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