How the Heat lost their flame

By Shawn Dennis

The Milwaukee Bucks got their revenge on the Miami Heat after they were knocked out by them in the Eastern Conference Finals of the playoffs in the bubble last season. All it took for the Bucks was four games of total domination, bringing out the brooms, and moving to the next round playoffs with vengeance satisfied. The Bucks were seemingly the lopsided favorites in this series, but what Milwaukee was able to accomplish on the court and do against the team that outplayed them all-around last season was a long shot prediction. 

What changed in Milwaukee, or better yet in Miami, for this series to already be over in a matter of four games? Well, the obvious answer is that the Bucks made the right additions to become the better team and Miami didn’t, but there’s so much more to it. 

For starters, Tyler Herro simply added to the conspiracy that NBA players in their second year always have an off year. Yes, he did have better numbers all around in the regular season this year in comparison to last, but his playoff performance was a real disappointment to the standards he was given. 

In Game 1, Herro shot an atrocious 2/10 from the field in 19 minutes of play, which made Miami head coach Erik Spolestra speculate on how many minutes he should be handing him. Although I understand the reasoning for Spolestra not giving Herro more than 25 minutes, he didn’t have the depth that he did on this squad in comparison to last year. Likewise, I think the addition of Trevor Ariza, who took the majority of playing time away from Herro, actually put more of a damper on the Heat than firing them up. 

Ariza was arguably less productive on the floor than Herro was, scoring a dismal 19 points over the four-game stretch and not scoring any points in either game 2 or 3. For whatever reason, Spolestra stuck to the veterans getting minutes and relied on experience to get the job done, which was the polar opposite game plan as to what went on in the bubble last season. 

Aside from the absence of Herro, the Heat would’ve loved to have Victor Oladipo in their backcourt to keep that small-ball style of play that exposed the Bucks bigs last year. Jimmy Butler plays so much better when he has more scorers on the court and with the Bucks bringing on PJ Tucker and Bobby Portis, the Heat had to keep at least three forwards on the floor at all times to guard both those players, as well as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. 

Another matchup nightmare for the Heat was two-way guard Jrue Holiday. It didn’t matter what guard was on the court for the Heat, Holiday was going to shut them down. For example, between the five guards that played in Game 4, they combined for a total of 25 points. Holiday playing the most minutes on the floor for the Bucks (38 in Game 4) was crucial, as he didn’t allow any of Miami’s three-point shooters to get hot at all in any of the four games. Regardless of Holiday’s defensive dominance, Miami was atrocious on the offensive side, averaging under 100-points per contest (98) and after the only close game being Game 1, the Heat couldn’t get their three-point shots going.

Lastly, and most importantly, the Heat weren’t playing in the bubble. Meaning, every game wasn’t played in Florida, there were fans to alter the atmosphere of the game, and Miami was certainly nowhere near the underdog in this series as they were last year. This time, the expectations were far greater than the reality of what the Miami roster consisted of. Players like Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn were all given high hopes to take their games to the next level, which injuries, a shortened season, and the absence of a few key players held them back from doing. Unless they have hit their peaks and met their highest potential, which I don’t believe to be the case, these three guards still have a ton left in the tank for many seasons to come. 

So, what’s next for the Heat? Should we expect there to be a total change in roster? Will Pat Reilly do whatever it takes to create another “Big Three” like he had back in the early 2010’s? The answer lies with the current Dallas Maverick, Los Angeles Clippers series, as I believe the fate of where Kawhi Leonard ends up this offseason is determined on the victor (LA or Miami).

Leave a Reply

Categories

Recent posts

Tags

Tags
2020 2020-21 Season Aaron Rodgers Adam Eaton AJ Preller AJ Styles Alabama Aleksander Barkov Alexis Lefreniere Alex Ovechkin Alex Pietrangelo Alex Smith Alex Verdugo Allen Robinson Andre Drummond Andrei Vasilevskiy Andrew Benentendi Andy Dalton Anthony DeAngelo Anthony Rizzo Anze Kopitar Artemi Panarin Art Ross Trophy Asuka Atlanta Braves Atlanta Hawks Austin Auston Matthews Awards Baltimore Baseball baseball betting Basketball bestbets Betting Big E Bill Belichick Blake Griffin Blake Snell Blowout Boston Boston Bruins Boston Celtics Boston Red Sox Bowen Byram Bradley Beal Brad Marchand Brad Stevens Brandon Moreno Bray Wyatt Brian Hoyer Brighton Brooklyn Nets Bubble Buddy Hield Buffalo Bills Calder Trophy Cale Makar Cam Newton Carey Price Caris LeVert Carlos Rodon Carolina Hurricanes Carson Wentz Carter Hart Charlie McAvoy Charlotte Hornets Chauncey Billups Chelsea Chicago Cubs Chicago White Sox Chris Godwin Chris Paul Christian Wood Christmas Cincinnati Clemson Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Indians College Football Playoff College Sports Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Combat Sports Conference Championships Connor Hellebuyck Connor McDavid Contenders COVID-19 Cowboys Crystal Palace Dallas Mavericks Danny Ainge David Pastrnak Dax Prescott DeAndre Jordan Deiveson Figueiredo Derrick Henry Derrick Rose DeShaun Watson Detroit Pistons Detroit Tigers Dominick Reyes Donovan Mitchell Don Sweeney Dougie Hamilton Draft Draft kings Drew McIntyre Dwayne Johnson Dylan Cozens Eddie Rosario England Eric Bledsoe Expansion Fan duel FanDuel Fernando Tatis Jr. Fines Florida Football Francisco Lindor Frank Lampard Frank Selke Free Agency Free Agents Fulham Futbol gambling gamblingguinea Game 1 General Manager George Springer Gerrit Cole Giannis Antokounmpo Goals Goldberg Golden State Warriors Gregg Popovich Hall of Fame Hart Memorial Head Coach Hockey Houston Rockets Houston Texans Hunter Renfroe Hurt Business Ice Shaker Igor Shesterkin Ilya Sorokin Indiana Pacers Isaiah Thomas J.T. Realmuto Jackie Bradley Jr. Jacob DeGrom Jacoby Brissett Jakub Zboril Jameis Winston James Harden James Norris Jarrett Allen Jarrett Stidham Jason Kidd Jason Robertson Javier Baez Jaylen Brown Jaylon Brown Jayson Tatum jdf sport JDFSports JDF Sports Jed Hoyer Jimmy Garoppolo Joanna Jedrzejczyk Joe Flacco Joel Embiid John Gibson JohnnyVTV Jonathan Huberdeau Jon Jones Jordan Clarkson Jose Aldo Josh Norris Jrue Holiday Julius Randle Jurickson Profar Justin Gaehtje Kansas City Kansas City Chiefs Kawhi Leonard Kemba Walker Kenny Golladay Kevin Durant Kevin Owens Kirill Kaprizov Kris Bryant Kyrie Irving LaMarcus Aldridge LaMelo Ball Lana Lance Lynn Larry Nance Jr. Las Vegas Lavar Ball Lawsuit Leadership Legal Leon Draisaitl Lions Liverpool Lonzo Ball Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers LSU Luka Doncic Mackenzie Blackwood Malcolm Brogdon Marcell Ozuna Marcus Mariota Mark Stone Matt Murray Matt Ryan Matt Stafford Max Scherzer Memories Memphis Grizzlies Miami Dolphins Miami Heat Michael Jordan Mika Zibanejad Milwaukee Bucks Minnesota Timberwolves Minnesota Wild Miro Heiskanen Mitch Trubisky MLB Moments Money Montreal Canadiens MVP Myles Turner Nashville Predators Nathan McKinnon Naughty NBA NBA Draft NCAA New Day New England Patriots New Orleans Pelicans New York Jets New York Mets New York Rangers New York Yankees NFC East NFL NHL Nia Jax Nice Nikola Jokic Nikola Vucevic Notre Dame Oakland Athletics Offseason Ohio St. Ohio State Oklahoma Oklahoma City Thunder Orlando Magic Outfield Patrice Bergeron Patrick Mahomes Paul George Payton Pritchard Petr Yan PGA Philadelphia Flyers Philadelphia Phillies Phillip Danault Phoenix Suns PickingWinners Pittsburgh Penguins Playoffs playsoftheday Predictions Premier League Presidents Trophy Rafael Stone Randy Orton Ravens Relegations Revenge Robbie Ray Robin Lehner Rocket Richard Roman Josi Roman Reigns Rookies Russell Wilson Ryan Fitzpatrick Ryan Kesler Ryan O'Reilly Sacramento Kings Safety Sam Cassell Sam Darnold Sammy Watkins San Antonio Spurs San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants Sean Couturier Sebastian Aho Semi Ojeleye Shane Bieber Shayna Baszler Sheffield United Shohei Ohtani Sidney Crosby Slam Diego Soccer Sports sportsbetting sports betting Stanley Cup Stan Van Gundy Steal Steelers Stephen Curry Steven Adams Steven Stamkos strikeout totals Super Bowl LV Suspensions Sweep Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Rays Tampa Bay Rays Chicago White Sox Vlad Guerrero Jr Taurean Prince Texans Texas A&M Texas Rangers Thanksgiving The Rock Tim Stutzle TLC Tom Brady Tom Wilson Tony Ferguson Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto Raptors Tottenham trade Trade Deadline Trades Trevor Bauer Trevor Lawrence Trevor Zegras Tuukka Rask Tyler Glasnow Ty Lue Tyrod Taylor Ty Smith UFC Underrated Vancouver Canucks Vegas Golden Knights Vezina Trophy Victor Hedman Victor Oladipo Wagers Washington Washington Capitals Washington Football Team Washington Nationals Washington Wizards WeeklyTaste West Brom Wild Card William Karlsson William M. Jennings Winnipeg Jets World Series WrestleMania WWE Yu Darvish Zach Werenski Zhang Weili