This was an opportunity the Miami Heat could have taken advantage of as news broke shortly before tipoff that the DPOY Marcus Smart would miss Game 4 with a sprained ankle. The Heat responded by having one of the worst playoff performances ever.
Miami missed their first 14 shots of the game and managed only 11 points in the first quarter and never, not once, got close to making this a reasonable game. They had 1 point through the first 8 minutes. They were blown out from the opening moments. They lacked urgency, discipline, and everything else needed to win a playoff game on the road.
It was ugly, pathetic, and embarrassing. Miami’s starters had 18 points — the fewest in a playoff game since 1970.
So, rather than give you a detailed recap of the ugly game, here are three things that went wrong for Miami.
#1 — The Heat couldn’t make a shot.
We can give credit to Boston’s defense for sure, I don’t want it to sound like this was a fluke. They made things difficult, but at the same time, the Heat also just had a lid on the basket. No one, with the exception of Victor Oladipo, could score whether it was an open shot, a layup, or whatever — nothing was going in. Going 3-20 to start the game set a tone that they couldn’t recover from.
You can X and O a lot, but one of Miami’s problems was their offense and inability to just put the ball in the hoop after good ball movement.
#2 — The Heat didn’t have any energy.
It’s baffling. It’s like they were content with a split. And if that was the case, they should have rested Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker with Tyler Herro. Miami did not live up to the Culture standard in this game and that includes the ones who should be the bearers of the Culture: Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry.
They didn’t hit the passing lanes, they didn’t rotate well, they didn’t hustle. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. It was the lack of effort that also doomed this in this game. They couldn’t match Boston’s attention to detail and desire to win. The Heat looked lethargic.
#3 — The Heat went away from everything that worked in Game 3.
Bam Adebayo quickly reverted back to a passer and facilitator. You can chalk it up to Robert Williams III playing, but Bam didn’t look for the ball and the rim and an ounce of effort as he did in Game 3. When he caught the ball, he was looking to move it, and while that’s great in many times, he won us the game on Saturday by being aggressive and he didn’t do that in Game 4. Bam had 9 points and 5 FGA.
Jimmy Butler avoided trying to score. He had opportunities to hunt Derrick White or Payton Pritchard, but he didn’t. Butler reluctantly shot it when he needed to, and did not attempt a free throw. Did you read that? He didn’t get to the line once in his 27 minutes. Butler scored 6 points on 3-14 shooting. He scored more points in Game 3 when he didn’t play the second half.
Boston made adjustments, but the Heat just didn’t look like the same team.
One Bright Spot — Victor Oladipo got it going
Vic had 23 points and 6 assists and was the only bring spot for Miami. In fact, without him, the Heat may haven’t scored more than 70 points. He played hard, showed good bursts, and was able to get to his spots enough times. That can be good moving forward.
A bonus bright spot is that Duncan Robinson made some threes in garbage time. Maybe he can find a rhythm.
A second bright spot: Miami won the 4th quarter...so what does that get us? Some type of award I think, I’m not sure.
The Heat lost the game, 102-82.
Game 5 is in Miami on Wednesday night at 8:30 PM EST.