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Miami Heat Weekly Round-Up - March 11th

Looking back at a wild week for the Miami Heat atop the Eastern Conference.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Miami Heat Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever missed a game or two during the week? Or want to go through some Xs and Os? Well, welcome to the Miami Heat Weekly Round-Up!

Each week, I’ll dive deeper into some of the key points from the games during that week, go through film breakdowns, provide fun stats, and other interesting tidbits.

Weekly Summary & Stats:

The Heat finished the week with a 2-1 record:

It wasn’t a bad week for the Heat. They took care of business against the 76ers without Kyle Lowry by holding the 76ers to a 90.9 defensive rating and 39.4% eFG, per Cleaning the Glass (CTG). It was a different story when it came to the Rockets. The Heat had a 63.0% eFG, shot 14/31 from deep, and Herro exploded for 31 points. Unfortunately, their loss to the Suns was a bad one. As a team, they had the third-worst offensive rating, got destroyed on the glass, and the effort was not there.

Key stats from the week:

  • Herro averaged 23.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 9/21 from 3, and a 61.9% true shooting
  • 14.4 free throw rate (29th in the league in that span)
  • 15.6 turnover rate (28th)
  • 108.5 offensive rating (25th)
  • 104.4 defensive rating (4th)
  • Allowed 57.0% in the restricted area (2nd)

Herro’s performance vs Houston:

It was one of those nights for Herro. He simply couldn’t miss especially in the second quarter. He finished with 31 points, but 21 of them came in the second quarter where he shot 5/6 from deep.

That’s beautiful basketball when a guy is hot and the ball will always seem to find him. It didn’t matter whether the shot was in transition, beating the buzzer, playing off-ball, and getting shots that way.

But it wasn’t just the bombs from deep that were impressive.

His increase in drives, particularly his efficiency on drives (61.8% on 6.9 attempts), post-all-star has been noticeable. These are the subtle plays in transition that show this. He realizes the defense isn’t set, but instead of going into a set, he uses that burst to get to the rim.

In this game, he finished with a team-high 11 drives and went 4/6.

Miami’s defense vs Philadelphia:

The Heat had a clear defensive scheme for Joel Embiid — pre-rotate, doubles, hard digs, and collapsing in the paint. And it worked.

Embiid had 22 points on 4/15 shooting. Only eight points weren’t free throws. That was the only way he was going to do something on offense, which was to draw fouls, and he’s going to do that regardless of the personnel and scheme.

But to hold Embiid seven points below his season averages and nine percent below his season average true shooting is a win.

This was what you will see on many possessions when Embiid has the ball. Jimmy Butler is already pre-rotating waiting to help when needed, and Caleb Martin coming into double and causing the turnover.

Similar thing here, PJ Tucker switches onto Embiid and notice where everyone else is. Duncan Robinson forgets about his man and pre-rotates. Butler sags off his man to be close in the paint. Bam Adebayo was ready at the nail and potentially looking to double.

That is the kind of defense that teams need to throw out at Embiid to force turnovers, poor outside shots, or getting the ball out of his hands and letting someone else beat you.

With this defense, where you focus that heavily on a single player will always mean someone is wide open. Now, you will take that 11/10 times especially when this type of defense is used against offensive stars like Embiid. However, this does mean the rotations must be on point.

We’ve seen this type of defense on Luka Doncic where it did contain Doncic, but everyone else shot the ball well.

This wasn’t the case in this game, though. The 76ers had a 39.4% eFG and shot 7/41 from 3. This was because, after those timely doubles and extra help on Embiid, everyone else’s rotations were on point.

It’s going to be tough to score when guys rotate like this. As soon as the ball leaves Embiid’s hands, Gabe Vincent is ready to closeout on Tobias Harris, Robinson is ready for his rotation, and the ball finds the player you definitely want taking that shot.

The Heat have arguably the best collection of different defenders that they can throw at opponents and are smart enough to make these rotations constantly.

Lack of free throws & rim pressure:

Did you know the Heat are in the 94th percentile in free throw rate with Butler on the court? That’s pretty elite! But when he comes off the court, they are in the 19th percentile, per CTG.

This was one of the reasons why their offense was terrible against the Suns. They lacked that guy who can get to the rim at will and is elite at drawing fouls.

This week, in two games, Butler leads the team with 20 free throw attempts. The next highest is Adebayo with five. That’s slightly worrying that no one else hit double digits. This is where Victor Oladipo should help with. He is another guy that could provide some more rim pressure.

Also, as mentioned already, Herro’s recent increase in drives should also help with this issue. In fact, post-all-star break, Herro is averaging a team-high 13.4 drives and only one less free throw attempt than Butler.

Tucker’s offensive impact beyond shooting:

Tucker is shooting almost 44% from deep this season. Recently, however, he’s been in a pretty bad slump — 1/7 from 3 in the past 3 games and shooting 31.4% on 2.3 attempts since February.

But I didn’t even notice this before I checked his stats. Despite shooting this badly for over a month and only hitting one triple in a week, he makes his presence known because of everything else he brings on offense.

Before Miami, you’d probably say his use on offense was sit in the corner and make your shots — you’d also be right.

Tucker still averaged 7.3 points and 2.0 assists, but it’s the way he’s involved in the offense.

This has been pretty common with Tucker this season where he’s been used as a roller in these handoff actions with Robinson. With Robinson’s gravity and how he draws two guys, that opens a pocket pass to Tucker and allows him to roll for a floater. And after that short roll, he has also been used as more of a playmaker too.

Tidbits & other news:

Victor Oladipo is back! For the first time since 8th April 2021, he’s finally back on the court and playing well. There is no better way to start your season with 11 points, 4/7 shooting, and two charges drawn. And if you want to know more about Oladipo’s debut, check out this film breakdown by Naveen Ganglani.

Robinson has been hot this week — averaging 13.7 points and going 11/22 from deep. That’s what you’d probably expect from a sharpshooter. What did stand out is he also attempted seven shots inside the arc and averaged 2.0 assists.

These are the reads that impressed me. The fact that he recognizes what the defense is giving him and makes the decision to drive when he has the open lane to do so.

Finally, Herro’s floater addition has been noticeable this week, particularly against the 76ers. He only attempted three 3s, but still went 8/13 from inside the arc and continued to use a floater once he gets into the paint.