Heating Up: Trail Blazers vs. Heat Reaction

Heating Up: Trail Blazers vs. Heat Reaction

by January 20, 2022 0 comments

The Miami Heat entered Wednesday’s game without two of their best playmakers in Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry. Still, the Heat made no excuses and moved forward. It wasn’t a pretty game for Miami, as the Portland Trailblazers‘ starting backcourt of Anfernee Simons and C.J. McCollum both had a strong first half with 20 points apiece. They were able to get open easily and made Miami pay. However, Miami played more physical defense after halftime. They held the Blazers to 33 second half points, including just 12 in the final period to seal the victory. With the win, Miami moves to 29-16 for the season.

Here are my takeaways from Wednesday’s win over Portland.

Butler’s Ejection

It was a frustrating first half for Jimmy Butler, who couldn’t get going. He went to the basket a couple of times and felt he was fouled. After getting an and-one opportunity, Butler immediately started barking in one of the referee’s faces. He appeared to be sending a message to the referee about the lack of foul calls. The referee then gave him a technical, which was warranted. A second later, as he started talking to his teammates, a second technical was called and Butler was ejected. Unlike the first technical, the second one was not as deserved, particularly with his back turned. And yet, Butler was still ejected. He finished the night with four points and three assists.

Caleb Does His Best Jimmy Impression

With Butler gone, the Heat needed someone to fill his role. Caleb Martin did his best Butler impression in the third period, where he scored 15 points. Martin was dynamic on both ends of the floor. He knocked down a couple of three-pointers and attacked the rim with ferocity. Defensively, he played stellar defense on Simons, who had a hot first half with 20 points. Simons was held to seven points in the second half. Since signing with Miami last summer, Martin has proven to be a dependable role player every night. He plays hard and is everywhere on the floor. He finished the night with 26 points and eight rebounds.

Bam More Aggressive

Everyone knew it was going to take Bam Adebayo some time to regain his offensive rhythm. Defensively, it hasn’t been as challenging. Adebayo continued to show his defensive versatility by guarding the perimeter and recovering to the paint. With Adebayo back, the Heat still switches a lot, but has now begun to blitz more often. Adebayo’s speed and athleticism make the blitzes more effective, and it showed. During the fourth period, Adebayo picked up his offensive game. He took over late in the fourth period by attacking the basket and making plays for others. It’s the most aggressive game the big man has had since he returned. Adebayo ended the night with 20 points, 11 rebounds, five steals, and three blocks.

Vincent’s Growth

One of the questions about this roster in the beginning of the season was at backup point guard. Who was going to fill the role? What would Miami do if Lowry missed time? Gabe Vincent has answered both questions with his play this season. On the offensive end, Vincent has shown improvement in both his handle and his vision. He’s now proven that he deserves consistent rotation minutes. On Wednesday night, he dished out a couple of assists to Dewayne Dedmon on the pick-and-roll. Most importantly, he played a huge part in slowing down the Blazers’ starting backcourt in the second half. Vincent finished with 11 points and seven assists.

Next Up: At the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. The game tips off at 7:30pm EST.

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