The Miami Heat began their four-game road trip in Cleveland. The Cleveland Cavaliers blew out Miami in their last matchup. Heading into Monday’s game, Miami knew it was going to be challenging against the bigger Cavaliers team. The Heat started off well defensively early in the game. They played physical and force the Cavaliers into tough shots. Then, the Cavaliers bounced back and came away with the victory. Once again, Miami dealt with offensive issues and it ended up hurting them again. With the loss, Miami drops to 16-12 for the season. Here are some takeaways from the loss in Cleveland.
Tucker Leading the Way
Yes, you read that right. P.J. Tucker lead Miami in scoring with 23 points. Last game, Tucker had finished with eight points and two made threes. On Monday, he matched that in the first six minutes of the game. While it was great to see Tucker fill up the scoring sheet, it’s not usually a good sign for Miami. In the first half, he had more field goal attempts than the Heat’s top two scoring options in Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro. He was keeping the Heat in the game during the first half with his corner threes and floaters.
Herro Offensive Struggles
As mentioned before, Tucker being the top-scoring leader is not a great sign for Miami. With Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler out, that falls on both Lowry and Herro. Lowry started the first half slow but picked it up in the second half. Herro, on the other hand, had his struggles on the offensive end. Like the last matchup against the Cavaliers, Herro had trouble scoring against the Cavaliers’ length. He was able to shake free a couple of times for wide-open layups. However, he struggled to create separation against the length. Herro’s offensive struggles came on a night where the Heat needed more from him offensively. He ended the night with 12 points.
Making shots from every area in the half-court certainly helps. Unfortunately, not every possession is going to go that way. There are going to be moments where drawing fouls will come in hand. This is where the Heat miss Butler and Adebayo. Both players do a great job of attacking the rim and drawing fouls. Without them, it’s hard for Miami to get free throws. Miami did not attempt their first free throw of the game until three minutes left in the first half. Duncan Robinson was fouled at the three-point line and made one of his three free throws. It was the only time Miami went to the free-throw line in the first half.
There was some good news for Heat on Monday. Guard Victor Oladipo traveled with the team for the first time this season. He did some work non-contact work with the Heat during their shoot-around. There’s still no timetable on when the guard will make his season debut. He’s still unlikely to play on this road trip. However, it’s still encouraging news for both the Heat. When healthy, he changes the dynamic of this team. Adding an attacker, defender, and pure talent like Oladipo will help tremendously. The defensive switches Miami could use with Oladipo in the lineup will be very interesting to watch.
Next up: The Philadelphia 76ers. The game tips off at 7 pm eastern time.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23