Now, if you’ve read my latest NBA article, you’d see that I have the Lakers winning it all. They would still be my pick, but I can never get enough of Heat basketball! As I’m starting to write this, the Heat are up 2-0 in the first round against the Pacers. Credit to Indiana for putting up a fight without Sabonis. I kinda feel bad for the Pacers. They have a good team with team players, but are simply outmatched in this series. They are a very likeable team. Miami should be able to win the series in 5 games max.
Butler has been doing his thing and Miami is getting scoring from some of their younger guys as well. For those of you who don’t know Duncan Robinson, I suggest you start familiarizing yourself with the name. His story is pretty remarkable. He first started playing division III basketball! He then jumped all the way to division I and played with the Michigan Wolverines. I watched a few of his games with Michigan, and not to sound rude, he was nothing special. He was a good shooter who averaged 10 PPG. He then went undrafted and finally ended up with Miami. He has now just exploded onto the scene and shoots the 3 ball like no Heat player I’ve ever seen…. not even Ray Allen. Since the NBA restart, he has attempted 90 shots. 79 of them being 3 pointers… He shoots the 3 ball at 44.6%.
Miami is filled with 3 point shooters with guys like Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk and now even Jae Crowder who has been shooting the lights out. This is why Jimmy Butler fits Miami so well… He’s not a 3 point shooter. When he drives to the lane it forcers defenders to leave guys like Robinson and Herro open for 3. If Butler is left one on one with a defender he usually scores or at least gets to the free throw line.
As I’ve said in previous articles, Butler is the perfect leader for the Heat franchise. He’s a hustler, plays with grit, and defends well. That’s #HeatCulture for you. He can be a distributer and playmaker for the Heat, but when it comes to the 4th quarter you know who’s taking the shots. Jimmy was never afraid of the big moments, and a successful franchise needs at least one guy like that. Another baller who steps it up in the 4th Q, is my favourite Heat player, Goran Dragic. I’ll admit he’s not a spectacular player or the most fun to watch. He’s a veteran who flies under the radar and consistently scores clutch baskets for the Heat. I’m glad to see he is now a starter for Miami. From one starter to another, Bam Adebayo has been the second best player on the Heat this year. He is athletic, plays great one on one defense, rebounds well, and now has developed a bit of a midrange jump shot. The thing with Bam Bam is that he doesn’t need to be scoring to help the Heat win. He reminds me a little of Butler, in that they’ll both fight for every loose ball and do whatever it takes to come away with the W. Jae Crowder has been in Miami’s starting lineup the first two playoffs games. I don’t see that changing. Even when Crowder was not with the Heat, I always admired his game. He’s a solid defender. Since the restart, he’s attempted 50 3 pointers and hit 52% of them.
Then you have guys like Herro, Olynyk, and Iguodala coming off the bench. For most of the season Herro was just a shooter. He has now diversified his game. He’s not afraid to attack the rim and challenge defenders. No shot seems too difficult for him whether it’s a step back 3 or a midrange jumper with a defender in his face. Kendrick Nunn has been going through a slump. He hasn’t played in the playoffs. I expect to see him play a significant role when the Heat move on to the second round. Olynyk is a big who shoots the 3 ball with consistency. Who doesn’t shoot 3s on this team? I like the mix Miami has with their centers in Olynyk and Bam Bam. They have 2 completely different styles which keeps their opponents on edge.
Ok, so you probably think I’m extremely biased -which I am- and am talking about the Heat as if they’re the 95-96 Bulls. The Heat do have their struggles. When their shooters aren’t shooting well, they obviously struggle. You live and die by the 3 ball, as they say. Some games they really do struggle to score. At times their offense is quite stagnant with very little movement. They also turn the ball over way too much. While I don’t think they’ll lose to the Pacers, they will definitely have to be better if they want the Bucks in round 2…. Sorry Orlando. Miami won the season series against the Bucks. They have the type of defense that makes it hard for a guy like the Greek Freak to dominate. Bam matches up well against him and Miami has good overall team defense. Like I said in a previous article; if any Eastern team eliminates the Bucks, I think it’ll be the Heat.
While Miami doesn’t have the star players the Lakers or Clippers do, they’ve got the most important thing come playoff time: heart. It’s the old cliché in sports. Who wants it more? That’s how Cinderella stories happen. So, why not the Miami Heat?