Discover more from Hot Hot Hoops - Miami Heat NBA Blog
NBA Finals: 3 Miami Heat Adjustments for Game 2
The Heat looked over matched at times in Game 1, but there are some simple adjustments that can make the game easier for them.
After the 104-93 loss in Game 1 of the NBA Finals to the Denver Nuggets, the Miami Heat don’t have any silver lining to hang on to. In fact, after Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the L.A. Lakers took a loss but many suggested that had “found” something at the end of that game and would be just fine.
That was not the case, as the Nuggets went on to sweep them 4-0. So there are no “we’ll be alright” articles here. Although, the Heat do have some adjustments they can make get them in a better position to win.
So let’s highlight them here.
#1 — Make your three-pointers
The Heat shot 13-39 from deep for 33% in Game 1, but half (6) of them came in their 4th quarter which saw them outscore the Nuggets 30-20. The Heat were missing open threes left and right.
When you consider the Max Strus (0-9) and Duncan Robinson (1-5) combined for 1-14 shooting, you have a problem. Max especially had some open looks that he would love to get back. Gabe Vincent shot 5-10 but outside of that, the Heat were struggling. They shot about the right amount, but need to be closer to a 43% clip to really be doing well.
So after being in Denver for a week, maybe the Heat will shoot better in Game 2. Let’s also notice that Denver shot 8-27 for 27% and will likely be much better as well.
#2 — Get to the free throw line
I mean, 2 free throws for entire game is pathetic (and they were by Haywood Highsmith!). We’ve all seen Jimmy Butler shoot 5 times that in a quarter before. It was an all-time NBA Playoff low for a game. And here’s the thing, it wasn’t officiating. Sure, there were a few moments at the rim you could have hoped for a call, but the Heat simply were not attacking enough.
Miami let Denver get to the line 20 times, and yet they went for a pair. It’s an unfair hurdle the Heat shouldn’t be climbing, and yet that’s where they put themselves. So they need to adjust. They need to hit the rim harder, get in the bonus faster, and use their pump fakes to get to the line.
“I mean, when we got in the locker room and seen the stat sheet, I feel like that we were all shocked that we only had two free throws.”
— Bam Adebayo
If they just get there 12-14 times, they score much easier, and Miami really needs that against the Nuggets defense.
#3 — Eliminate switching point guards onto power forwards and centers
I never will watch the first 6 minutes of this game again. It was painful watching Aaron Gordon flex on Gabe Vincent — I mean, seriously? Yes, he is too small we know! I don’t mind Caleb Martin guarding him. Can Gordon score on him? Likely, but not always.
What we need to avoid are switches that get Vincent or Lowry guarding Gordon, Jokic, or Jeff Green. They are just simply too small to compete especially when they already have a foot in the paint.
The Heat need to all that action to happen and force the ball handler to do something else than create that mismatch.
And because we are so smart over here…some bonus ideas!
Bonus Adjustment #1 — Play Tyler Herro
Just do it. If his hand gets smacked then so be it. Herro would excel against drop coverage, let’s hope he’s ready to go!
Bonus Adjustment #2 — Kevin Love minutes over Cody Zeller minutes
Zeller played 8 minutes and offered very little. Kevin Love has the girth to put some weight on Jokic, and at least he would pull him outside of the lower defensive box when playing defense. I think Love over Zeller in the non-Bam minutes may be worth the action.
The Heat’s Road to the Finals has seen them adjust every step of the way, and that won’t stop now.
If you’ve enjoyed Miami’s road to the Finals, you should secure your preorder Burnie bobblehead that’s all about the Road to the Finals. What a special year this has been for the Heat overcoming so many obstacles these playoffs.
Check out the FOCO Road to the Finals Bobble HERE.