The Miami Heat went into last night’s game vs the Cleveland Cavaliers sporting two straight wins. However, they once again prove to be a consistently inconsistent team and weren’t able to extend that very small win streak any further. Miami lost at home 104-100 and drop to 35-32 on the season. They are now 3 games back from avoiding the play-in at the 6th seed, 4 games back from the 5th seed, and only have a 1.5 game lead on the 8th seed Atlanta Hawks. Miami had many chances to secure the win last night but simply just couldn’t get it done.
In the loss, Jimmy Butler lead the Heat offensively with 28 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists on 8/14 shooting, 12/15 from the free throw line. Bam Adebayo was in foul trouble early and played in limited minutes (28), but had 17 points on an impressive 8/11 shooting. Tyler Herro contributed 22 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists on 7/15 shooting, 4/8 from 3. Herro had a clutch 3 pointer with less than 30 seconds left in the game to keep Miami alive, but a Max Strus missed 3 to potentially tie the game on the next possession costed coming away with the victory.
The combination of turnovers, poor 3 point shooting, mediocre free throw shooting, and rocky defense is what all factored into the loss. The biggest issue out of all of those had to be the turnovers. They committed a season high 22, and the Cavaliers were able to punish the Heat with points off those turnovers. They had 10 more field goal attempts than Miami because of that. Victor Oladipo personally was responsible for 5 of those turnovers. It’s a shame because overall the Heat shot very well, 50% from the field to be exact. The Cavs shot 49% from the field.
Turnovers. Missed 3-pointers. Self-inflicted mistakes. Jimmy was spectacular. Bam was good but didn't get involved enough. Other players meh at best. Wrong guys taking shots down the stretch of the game. Same season, same script, same result. Miami Heat L.— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) March 9, 2023
The 3 point shooting wasn’t necessarily a strong category for either teams, but Cleveland’s 89% free throw shooting also had the edge over Miami’s 76%. I have repeatedly stated in my game previews and recaps before that this team needs an X-factor or two every night to win. The core of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro played pretty well, although Adebayo was in foul trouble throughout the night. There just wasn’t nearly enough production from the supporting cast. The best stat-line from anyone not named Butler, Herro or Adebayo was Kevin Love’s 8 points and 8 rebounds on 4/7 shooting.
Love has been solid, but his 3 point shooting has honestly been looking dreadful. Which could cause even more problems down the stretch of this season considering he was plugged into this starting line up to be that floor spacer and knock down open 3’s.
Kevin Love's 3-point shooting struggles before joining Miami was justified by his thumb injury, but here's his long-range shooting numbers since the break:— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) March 9, 2023
0-2 (so far tonight)
Victor Oladipo has had his share of consistency problems himself. Coming off a game against Atlanta earlier this week where he dropped 22 points on 50% shooting off the bench, he responded with just 9 points on 30% shooting. Everyone knows the ability and old burst is there, but the efficiency night in and night out has been an ongoing issue for him, among others.
Gabe Vincent has had an opportunity these last 10+ games to prove he is a starting caliber NBA point guard in the absence of Kyle Lowry. On a contract year too, he has shown he is not. Vincent, although solid on defense, has been extremely disappointing on the offensive end. He doesn’t look as confident letting it fly as he usually has in the past. Miami was hoping for him to step up and give the team some nice minutes over the last month considering the opportunity, but he has failed to meet those expectations.
Gabe Vincent's been a disaster as a starter since Lowry went out with that knee injury. Miami's been back at the same spot they were before the '21-22 season: badly in need of a two-way point guard.— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) March 9, 2023
It is yet to be seen when exactly Kyle Lowry will be back, but there has been some optimism his return will be coming sooner rather than later. At this point, when healthy, his skills at orchestrating offense and playmaking could be the last little bit of hope this Heat team has of making any sort of run this season.
The Miami Heat get another crack at this Cavs team at home again tomorrow night at 8:00 PM ET.