This may have been the best Miami Heat win of the season, and this has been said plenty of times. However, given the circumstances and the available players, this victory ranks first. Despite being shorthanded, the Heat came into Phoenix ready to play the Suns. They started the game hot from downtown. Miami completely dominated the game on Saturday night without their two best players. The Suns made a push early in the fourth period to cut into Miami’s huge lead, but Miami responded with a bigger run to seal the game. With the win, Miami moves to 25-15 for the season.
Here are my takeaways from Saturday’s win in Phoenix.
Tyler Herro Leads the Way
Tyler Herro has been struggling the past few games with his shooting efficiency. He started off slow again early in the game. Some of his shots were forced. Instead of letting the struggles get to him, he bounced back and ended up with 17 points by halftime. What helped him get going was his aggressiveness to the basket. With his shots not falling, Herro immediately with into attack mode. This has been a huge difference in his game compared to last year. Once he started going inside, it opened up his outside game. Herro finished the night with 33 points and five rebounds.
Robinson Excels in New Role
Surprisingly, Miami stayed with Max Strus in the starting lineup while keeping Duncan Robinson with the second unit. Strus has been playing well for Miami this season, especially with his three-point shooting. On the other hand, Robinson has struggled at times throughout this season from beyond the arc. On Saturday, however, it was Robinson who took over the spotlight. In his new role, he came off the bench and made eight three-pointers. Most importantly, he was shooting them with confidence. Once Butler returns, it’s possible he’ll get his starting role back. This is something Miami should consider going forward. Robinson ended the night with 27 points.
one of those nights 🎯 pic.twitter.com/LQS3i5K9aw
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 9, 2022
Yurtseven the Playmaker?
When Bam Adebayo went down, it was uncertain how Miami was going to fill the void. While he is Miami’s most versatile defender, Adebayo’s playmaking on the offensive end was huge. P.J. Tucker has stepped up in the role throughout Adebayo’s absence. However, Miami went a different route on Saturday. Instead of Tucker playmaking from the middle of the court, it was Omer Yurtseven. Yes, Yurtseven. He did surprisingly well as a playmaker, and had seven assists in the first half. So far, we have seen the huge scoring and rebounding nights. Those seven first half assists, though, might be the best we have seen from the Heat center this season. Yurtseven ended the night with seven points, 16 rebounds, and eight assists.
Miami Continues to Beat Elite Teams
With their win against Phoenix, Miami is now 8-2 against the top three seeds from both the Eastern and Western Conference. Some of those victories have come without their best players. It doesn’t matter how many road games they have, or who’s available; Miami continues to find a way to compete. They have not lost to the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, or Phoenix all season. They have beaten the Milwaukee Bucks twice (once with a shorthanded roster). That has been very impressive with their best two players in street clothes for most of those wins. If he hasn’t already, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra deserves more national attention for the work he has done.
Next up: At the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday. Game tips off at 7:30pm EST.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin