The Heat made a big surprise in the 2020 Orlando bubble. Although they lost to the Lakers in the championship game, they won respect. The next year, it was suspected that due to excessive consumption, two veterans with championship experience, Kyle Lowry and P.J Tucker, were recruited this season, hoping to win the championship again.
The Heat made a big surprise in the Orlando bubble in 2020 (2020 NBA Finals Lakers vs Heat Preview: Not winning the championship is a failure & even losing is a win), although the championship game lost to the Lakers, it won respect. The next year, it was suspected that due to excessive consumption, two veterans with championship experience, Kyle Lowry and P.J Tucker, were recruited this season, hoping to win the championship again.
But this Eastern District faucet has never been the subject of discussion. Superstars are the focus of fans and media attention, so the most talked about team in the East is the Nets with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, James Harden led the 76ers, and then the still-strong Giannis Antetokounmpo led the defending title. The championship Bucks, and even the Celtics, who were reborn halfway through the season, were all talking about the Heat.
But in the end it was the Heat that took the lead in the East. Even with the regular season becoming less and less relevant to the playoffs, having full home-court advantage still has a certain symbolic meaning. Especially compared with the trip to the playoffs two years ago, the Heat this season, in addition to their still strong attitude and strict discipline, have a lot more available soldiers. Looking at the Eastern District, they should be the team with the best depth. Coupled with coach Erik Spoelstra’s strategizing, even if the talent is not top, it is still one of the most feared teams in the East.
The Heat got off to a good start in the opening game with a bloodbath of the champion Bucks at home. However, the flank Jimmy Butler, who always went to the factory for repairs in previous years, was absent until the end of November, and the young and strong center Bam Adebayo followed up.
Injuries and epidemics swept the league starting in December, and the Heat were also affected a lot. Fortunately, the Heat’s fundamentals are solid. Several players from the G League (flank Caleb Martin, shooter Max Strus, ball-handling Gabe Vincen, etc.) performed well, and they also trained a new generation of rebounding monster Turkish center Omer Yurtseven. Gap.
For a long time, the Heat’s record was hovering in the second to fourth place in the Eastern District. After that, the Nets and Bulls, which were originally the leading group in the Eastern District, began to stall, and the Heat successfully became the leader of the Eastern District in late January. Next, although the Heat did not open the gap as invincible as the sun, but the performance did not differ too much and was not the focus of discussion.
It was in late March that the Heat appeared on the media page, but they were pressed and beaten at home against the powerful warriors in the Western District who were not in the main, and a fierce conflict broke out on the sidelines. Headman Butler disagreed with coach Erik Spoelstra during the timeout, and the team’s big brother Udonis Haslem jumped out to defend the coach. The quarrel was caught on camera.
Heat coach Spoelstra’s humorous answer to what happened during the timeout:
Everyone was wondering where to go for dinner after the game.
ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst later revealed that Butler has always been harsh with his teammates, and despite his credit for the Heat, there have been voices within the team to send him away. However, according to Miami sports media Five Reasons Sports, the Heat have other internal problems this season. Although direct courtside conflicts are not what the team expects, it is one of the few direct and frank communications this season, and some insiders even think it is very effective.
As the saying goes, freezing three feet is not a day’s cold. Butler has a strong will to win, but it is not easy to communicate. Spoelstra, who has been in the arena for many years, is not a fuel-efficient lamp. It is speculated that there have been many frictions between the two teams, but he did not expect it to explode directly on the field. Winning cures all diseases, and losing is all diseases. The Heat lost to the 76ers who did not play Joel Embiid and James Harden in the previous game before the conflict, and then lost to the Warriors whose main player was rested, which may be the final fuse.
The Heat, who had a quarrel with the head coach, swallowed two more defeats, and the total four-game losing streak was the highest record of the season and gave way to the leader of the Eastern Division. Unexpectedly, it quickly stopped falling and rebounded and pulled out a wave of winning streaks to regain the top. The regular season has not been completed and the leader of the Eastern District has been locked into people’s glasses.
To say the characteristics of this Heat, the first is the toughness and fighting spirit. The two veterans with championship rings are famous for their sturdy play. Their physical fitness may not be as good as that of the year, but their attitude has not been discounted. Butler, who is famous for motorcycles, is not easy to match. In the new rotation, Martin, Strus, and Vincent are not afraid of anything from the G League all the way. The young players Herro and Adebayo are not weak after the baptism of the competition, and the whole team has no obvious weakness.
Then the second feature is super deep rotation. At the end of the championship game that year, almost no one was available. This season, the Heat are completely different. In addition to the starting five, Dewayne Dedmon is a stable backup center. Although it is easy to be called offensive fouls when covering screens, it is difficult to contribute for a long time, but the pick-and-roll decline and rebounding are all very good. .
Strus, who is shorter and more physically fit, replaced Duncan Robinson as the starter. Robinson, who has been in decline this season, has increased his firepower from the bench. Strus may not be as accurate and moving as Robinson, and he is not so familiar with center Adebayo’s hand-off passing, but he has a thick body, better physical fitness, stronger defensive confrontation and more threatening air cuts. He can also see the fast break. Direct Air Relay.
A few days ago, when Strus played against the fiery Celtic, he made great achievements, scoring four three-pointers on offense, and sent two blocks when the two teams were tied. At the last minute of the game, more than 30 seconds were left, and the offense and defense switched. When the green jersey captain Jayson Tatum ate an offensive foul to lay the foundation for victory. In the next game, the Tyrannosaurus Strus was quiet in the first half. In the second half, he scored 7 three-pointers almost without a hit, and the explosive power of scoring should not be underestimated.
Substitute ball control Vincent has a big heart and is excellent in defense. He scored 11 points and 4 assists when he took the place of the starter. Whether it is simply serving as a backup ball handler or pulling up to play a double guard, there is no problem. The bigger problem is that the shot becomes very inconsistent after returning to the team, and it may take some time to adjust.
The backup wing Martin’s physical fitness and defensive coverage may be the first in the team. He has excellent athleticism and is good at chasing defenders, which just makes up for the shortcomings of Lowry’s old age and Vincent’s lack of speed. Faced with three top guards Chris Paul, Steph Curry, and Trae Young in a row in the middle of the season, the Heat often choose Martin as their main defender, effectively reducing their destructive power.
Coach Spoelstra praised Martin’s defense, saying in an interview:
Marking a top defender requires a lot of discipline and perseverance, especially when the opponent scores and remains calm. Martin has improved a lot in our defensive system and continues to maintain good discipline.
Deep down the bench is Victor Oladipo, who is out of the rotation and doesn’t expect to see him much in the playoffs. However, in the game against the Tyrannosaurus, he scored 6 three-pointers in a single game, and once cut into a one-handed dunk. The outcome of the last game of the regular season is completely unimportant. The Heat’s main force was not on the break, and Oladipo was able to sway the magic of the East Zone Furnace Master.
He played for more than 35 minutes and completely burned, scoring 40 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. His points and rebounds were both personal new highs after the Pacers injury, showing that his physical condition is good. Bad will be the X-factor of the Heat’s playoffs.
Another forward, Markieff Morris, who has been out for most of the time due to injury, is in poor condition, mainly because his physical condition has declined too much. The remaining role is to shoot from the outside and irritate opponents, and he will only be seen at certain times.
In this way, the number of available soldiers is as high as 10, which is very sufficient for the rotation of the playoffs, and it can even be said that there are too many personnel. Not to mention their coach is the best Spoelstra available today. Under the coaching of Spoelstra, the Heat are disciplined in both offense and defense, and they are the most offensive foul team in the NBA. Under the leadership of Lowry and Tucker, the Heat are the only team in the NBA to produce offensive fouls that exceed three digits, far ahead of the second-ranked Houston Rockets. Spoelstra did not hesitate to take the initiative to change moves when the stalemate, and the good execution of the players made it difficult for the Heat to crash at critical moments.
No team is perfect, and the Heat’s biggest problem is lack of talent. No one in the entire team entered the NBA with the top 10 picks in the draft, and there are a lot of undrafted players, a bit similar to the Tyrannosaurus who won the championship in 2019; starting from the center is one size smaller than the standard size, and only Adebayo has the top level in physical fitness. In the entire team, only Butler was selected for the All-Star Game this season. He is almost 33 years old, and he is no longer the Changshan Zhao Zilong who fought in and out. Fortunately, Herro’s progress made up for some of the shortcomings, and his physical fitness has become the most important attacker in the backcourt.
Herro has seen a surge in usage this season, taking responsibility for the biggest improvements. Spoelstra basically gave Herro the green light, and often saw him pull up to shoot a three-pointer on the fast break, or force a shot when he was pinched, and Herro could also hit these difficult shots.
After entering the second round of the playoffs, each team has a complete system. The Heat’s disciplinary advantage is much smaller than that in the regular season. On the contrary, the problem of insufficient players’ congenital conditions will be magnified. This aspect depends on Spoelstra’s scheduling and strategy to make up for it.
The opponent in the first round of the playoffs was the Eagles who stopped in the Eastern Conference Championship last year. Ace Trae Young’s defense has been terrible, but the Hawks have helped fill the hole. After the baptism last season, the young Eagles had been highly anticipated. This season, the main players are all in, and the offensive efficiency is second in the league, but the record has been unable to improve. The biggest problem is that the team’s defense is almost collapsed, and the defensive efficiency is the bottom 26 in the league.
Now the Eagles’ main striker John Collins doesn’t know if he can play or not, and Clint Capela, the gate goddess, is still injured in the play-offs. Young is in fairly good shape, but the Heat have no shortage of candidates to guard him, and Adebayo is eyeing him in the restricted area, and the two sides are not evenly matched.
The extent to which the Heat’s perimeter firepower can play determines the direction of the series. Even though the main players, Butler and Adebayo, rarely shoot three-pointers (Butler significantly increased the number of three-pointers at the end of the season, but the hit rate is still mediocre), the shooting rate of the leading shooter Robinson is not as stable as before, and the Heat still rely on rapid conduction to create gaps, The team’s three-point shooting rate remained at an excellent level, ranking among the top three in the league for a long time.
In the game against the Hornets at the end of the season, the Heat’s entire team broke the team record with three-pointers. Herro, Robinson, and Martin made 16 three-pointers off the bench to show strong firepower, and they have the ability to turn the game at any time. The Hawks’ perimeter defense is very bad, just to give the Heat shooters a chance to play.
Another key is that Tucker was injured in the battle against the Hornets, and the shooting slump at the end of the season is also the focus of follow-up observation. Tucker’s mobility is not as good as before, but he is still one of the few defensive players in the Heat who can fight against large wings. As the playoffs progress, it will become more and more important. The first round against the Eagles is not very useful, but I hope he can use the time to adjust the state.
It is not an exaggeration to describe the Heat this season as strong soldiers and strong horses. As the leader of the Eastern District, passing the first round is only a basic game, and the final championship gold cup is the only goal. Before the end of the regular season, it was reported that center Adebayo had not been with the team due to safety protocols and had only recently started participating in team activities. However, the entire Heat team has been vaccinated, and Adebayo’s youth and strength should have little impact.
Compared with the Eagles, who fought hard to qualify for the playoffs after playing two games in a row, the Heat, who are waiting for work, will undoubtedly be fully crushed. Some of the coaches: Eagles coach Nate McMillan has a paragraph difference compared to Spoelstra. It is not easy to rely on on-the-spot changes or scheduling to suppress the Heat. Personally, I don’t expect any magic from McMillan.
For the Heat, winning the Hawks is just basic. Considering that Young’s top offensive firepower may break out at any time, he should be able to win a game, but it is concluded that the Heat have the best chance of passing the five games. Adjusting the situation outside of winning, testing whether Oladipo’s performance is short-lived, and avoiding injury problems may be more important.
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