The Miami Heat are currently the 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and it looks like that they will play the Indiana Pacers, a team whom they just defeated in the bubble in resounding fashion. Going into the game Indiana Pacers standout player TJ Warren was virtually unstoppable but in sign of what may come in the Playoffs, Miami’s Jimmy Butler managed to shut him down. Butler held Warren to just 12 points for the game, with all 12 coming in the first half and zero in the second half. The Heat are 3-3 in the bubble but that doesn’t tell the whole story because Miami all-star Jimmy Butler missed 3 games.
Jimmy Butler is one of the Heat’s all-stars, with the other all-star being big man Bam Adebayo. Adebayo has been a consistent double double machine for the Heat thus far. In addition to Adebayo and Butler, the Heat have second year man Duncan Robinson who can shoot the lights. Miami also has rookie Tyler Herro, who like Robinson is quite the sharp shooter. The reliable veteran PG Goran Dragic is also on the roster along with rookie surprise Kendrick Nunn who also plays PG. High flyer Derrick Jones Jr plays PF for the Heat and their bench is solid with Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk, and Jae Crowder. The Heat currently lead the NBA in 3 point field percentage, hitting better than 38% of their 3’s. They are also ranked 5th in assists at better than 26 per game. Butler and Adebayo are two solid pieces but what makes them even more dangerous is the fact that they are flanked by Robinson, Herro, Dragic Iguodala, Crowder, and Olynyk because those players can really let it fly from the outside.
When the Heat are hitting 3’s and the two man game between Butler and Adebayo is working they are almost unbeatable. Miami’s guard play is a key to their success and they have so many quality guards that it’s almost certain that someone will bring it from the outside every game. Defensively the Heat are rated 12th overall and 2nd in defensive rebound percentage getting better than 77% of all available defensive rebounds. They are in the lower half of the league steals however, and 25th in points off of turnovers. These could be ominous signs as they put a lot of pressure on Miami’s offense to constantly score in their offensive half-court sets given how little they score in transition. Additionally the Heat are 20th in blocks. But, they do play great transition defense and are ranked 5th in fastbreak points allowed.
All in all, the Heat have talent to do something in the playoffs. They should most likely beat the Indiana Pacers in their 4-5 match-up. Where things get hard is when they have to play the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2nd round in the 1-4 match up. The Heat just lost to the Bucks last week and blew a 23 point lead against them. They weren’t at full strength in that game and should be full strength in match up against the Bucks in the 2nd round. But first they have to beat the Pacers. If Jimmy Butler can show why he’s the number 1 option and if Bam Adebayo can continue to be a double double machine with help from outside from their guards, Miami could become red hot in the Playoffs. Heat Pacers should be a good series. Heat Bucks should be an even better series as the Bucks would have to run the Heat guards off the 3 point line. Let’s see how hot the Heat can get.
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